Cue Brass Bonanza, the Carolina Hurricanes won on Whalers Night.
The Canes beat the Devils 2-1 Saturday night in PNC Arena, thanks mostly to a wonderful 24-save effort from Antti Raanta. Carolina got ahead 2-0 early, with Jordan Martinook scoring his first goal since opening night and Andrei Svechnikov netting his 15th of the season.
Following the tight win over the Devils, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Martinook and Raanta spoke with media members via Zoom.
Here’s what they had to say about the victory:
On the team’s response in the third period to lock down: The third was great, right? That’s how you’ve got to play with the lead. I don’t know how many shots we gave up. I think it was only a couple. It kind of turned the tide in the game. I thought we could have had a few in ourselves. It wasn’t a great first couple periods, but give the guys a lot of credit because when the game was on the line they turned it up.
On Raanta’s night: He was the difference. He made three or four almost breakaway, key saves at big times. We weren’t at our best, and I thought their team was really coming at us for a little while there. He kept us in the game. I can’t say enough about that. That’s so important.
On what adjustments they need to make before Sunday: We’re not going to make a lot of adjustments. We’re going to try to get refocused on the opponent. There’s a certain way we need to play, like we did in the third. We’d like to see a little more of that consistency. But there’s not a lot of time for adjustments between now and the next game.
On Martinook getting on the scoreboard: I feel for him. He got injured, came back and played really well then out again. He even had to miss another game because of the Canada thing. It’s just one thing after another for him. It’s nice to see him contribute. Come in and do what he does and get rewarded.
On Teuvo Teravainen’s status: He’s not ill. He’s got a little lingering thing that happened a few games ago. He’s played through it a little bit, and just felt like he wasn’t going to be 100 percent tonight. We’ve got a full group now, so it didn’t really make sense to force anything.
On what changed in the third period: Obviously the first two periods, everybody’s seen that. That wasn’t how we do it and how we want to play. We were making soft plays at the [blue lines], we were losing battles, it was...we got a talking to there at the second intermission, came out and I think everybody can agree that the third period was a little more like Hurricanes hockey. We wore them down and didn’t let them wind up. They’re skilled; they’re fast. You look at Hughes and Bratt, they get going, you’re on your heels a little bit If you can play down there and take away their time and space, tire them out and they’re not coming at you at a hundred miles an hour.
On his goal: As for the spinning backhand, it was just...yeah, just tried to put it on net. I knew Fishy was on the backside if it created a rebound, but it was nice to get in there.
On his pent-up energy after missing time: I’ve said to the guys before, I feel like a race car that gets qualifying in and then when the race comes I blow a tire or something. (That’s a good NASCAR reference for the North Carolina crew.) [Yes, he actually said that. -bl]
More about what was said at the second intermission: We knew we weren’t there, Roddy knew we weren’t there, and that’s the sign of a good coach when he can come in and say something, and then your team answers the bell. I think he said something, and then collectively as a group we knew and talked amongst ourselves, and came out in the third and played a lot better.
On Raanta’s performance: I said to him after the game, that’s the Raants I’ve seen steal a lot of games. When I was with him in Arizona, when he gets going, it’s hard for pucks to get past him. That was kind of vintage Rants there. I’m super happy for him. Obviously he’s had some injuries, he’s getting back to it, he’s working his tail off in practice. This just shows all that hard work. We needed him tonight, he made three breakaway saves, he was incredible. Happy for him to have that kind of game.
On his performance: It’s been a little while since I played last, but everything this week, since Tuesday, has been preparation for today. It’s been a lot of hard work, and obviously it’s great to get rewarded on the game. Nice to make a couple big saves in the second period, and the third period obviously we played really well. The guys helped me out a lot.
On how to get a rhythm after missing time: I was trying to go into the game in five minutes segments, try to work hard in the first five minutes and then go for the next one. When the guys are scoring goals it relaxes you a little bit. You get a couple good saves early on. The only thing was just kind of battling and try to work hard. You know that the skill is there, so you trust that if you work hard you’re going to be successful. Like I said, it’s been the whole week. I figured out that it was going to be a back to back this weekend. It felt really good to go into the game, it didn’t feel like a three or four week break, so you just went in and played the game.
On Martinook’s comment about it being a vintage game: Yeah, that’s what Marty said on the ice after the game, that was like back in the old days. I told him straightaway that his spin-o-rama was like back in the old days in Arizona. Everything comes with the mindset that, now we’re kind of over the halfway point, you start to learn how to play behind this team, you start trusting yourself, you start trusting the teammates, you’re earning the trust.
Obviously making those saves feels good, but the biggest thing for me is when you go into the game, you just want to give a chance to win. Doesn’t matter if it’s a point shot and I can make an easy glove save or if it’s a half-breakaway, if I can do something to help the team it always feels good. Now the mindset and how I played today was kind of how I want to keep doing it. It’s a good sign that it worked today and hopefully it gives a confidence boost to go forward.
On playing in Whalers gear: The whole week, it’s been awesome. Jorge (Alves) has been busy taping my gear, painting the mask, it’s been awesome. I think I sent a picture of my jersey Wednesday or Friday, when I saw it the first time, to one of my friends and he was like “that’s the best jersey you’re ever going to wear.” Back in the old days, even if you played the NHL on PlayStation or Xbox, you always took that jersey if you had the chance. It’s obviously great to play with that. Good looking team - the whole crowd loved it, and the guys got a little bit of extra juice from it.