Brady Skjei stayed hot in 2022, scoring a goal and collecting three-points for his second big game to open up the new year. Andrei Svechnikov added two goals, while Frederik Andersen kept Carolina in the game early with some great saves. Derek Stepan, Tony DeAngelo and Jesper Fast also tallied goals.
Following the win, Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Svechnikov, Fast and Skjei spoke with members of the media via Zoom.
Here is what they had to say:
On getting the victory after the slow start: I kind of figured that was going to happen. We were playing a real good team that plays quick and hard. We were coming off that long break. As much as you talk about it, you’ve got to be in the rhythm. It just took us a while. Freddie kept us in the game in that first period, and we were fortunate to come out of there 1-1 for sure.
On the penalty kill’s success: We expect to kill a penalty. You’re not going to kill them all. You’re going to get a bad bounce and they’re going to make a good play. Tim [Gleason] has done a great job of stepping in and putting his stamp on it. The guys have really taken it to heart. They take a lot of pride in that. We had some breakdowns and our goalie made some big saves. But it’s a crucial part of the game, especially in a game like tonight where if they get one on the power play there it’s a different game.
On Fast’s goal opening things up: We’ve been saying it all week and leading up to the game. It’s another thing to go out there and experience it. It’s not even that we were slow, we just weren’t up to speed. That was a turning point. It was ‘ok, we’re not playing that great, but we’re not down.’ The second period was the exact opposite. It totally flipped, and we kind of had our legs. I thought we took it to them the whole period. That was the difference in the game, to me. We were able to capitalize on our chances in that second period.
On Skjei’s offensive production and guys stepping up: That’s what we have to have. We need everyone. We talk about it all the time. If we want to be that team that we all expect we can be and want to be, everybody has to contribute. Brady can skate, shoot. It’s not really surprising to me that he’s able to do this. Obviously you don’t expect it to happen at this rate. But if you really watch his game, he’s always getting scoring chances pretty much every night because he always gets into the play so well.
On the rust and on if they just shook it off: For sure we were a little bit rusty because we didn’t play in five days. Of course we feel that. You’re not in game shape. And obviously the first period wasn’t our best. But thank God we came out in the second period, and I think we played a great game after the first period.
On him getting some goals in: Yeah, always when you score you are going to get more confident. It wasn’t lucky for me the last 10 games probably. I tried to shoot, but it wasn’t going in. Thank God I scored a couple today. We’ll see from there.
On Andersen’s play in the first period: For sure. If you watch Freddie every game, he’s the best player on our team. When they go to our net, you always know Freddie is going to save it. It’s good to have him here, for sure.
On the penalty kill picking him up: Yeah, I’ve got to stop taking penalties. That’s for sure. I’ve been good with that lately. Today I just broke my stick and couldn’t do anything. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t hold him a little bit. I’ve got to stop to take penalties. I’ve just got to stop doing that, that’s for sure.
On why the penalty kill is so good: I just feel like we’re on the same page. Everybody knows what to do. We’ve been keeping the same duos for a long time, so it’s easy to read one another. It’s hard work. We’ve been on a good stretch so far. The special teams is very important right now. We’ve just got to keep being good in those situations.
On his goal at the end of the first period: Freddie was outstanding in the first period. I felt like they were outshooting us. It’s not acceptable to give up 21 shots or whatever it was in the first period. We were happy to have a 1-1 game after the first period.
On his goal breaking things open: You always get energy after scoring a goal. Especially during that time where we needed a goal, too. It kind of gets the confidence going back and moves our legs a little bit more because I felt like we were standing still a lot with a lot of turnovers in the first period. Like you said, I feel like we became a little bit of a different team after the first period there. We really deserved the lead we got in the second period.
On if the key is just getting to the front of the net: Yeah, that’s where you score a lot of goals. I’m just trying to get my body in front there. Today I was lucky to get a stick on the puck there and a good bounce. Just try to be in the right areas.
On the penalty kill frustrating the Flames: Of course. You want to kill as many seconds as possible. If you can keep the puck, that’s great. A couple of shifts there [Jordan Staal] and [Sebastian Aho] hold onto the puck. If you kill the next 20 or 25 seconds, that’s cool.
On the net looking big for him right now: It looks good. I’ve obviously had some pretty good looks come right down the slot. I’ve just been lucky to take advantage of those opportunities. Hopefully I can keep finding those spots and putting the puck in the back of the net.
On if we can expect a goal a game from him /s: No. No. I would love to. We’ll see how long this lasts, but I’d say the betting odds of that lasting are pretty small. We’ll see, but no.
On what makes the penalty kill so good: I just think everyone is on the same page. Obviously goaltending is a huge part of it, and Freddie has been amazing for us. Everyone seems to be on the same page, working hard, getting in lanes so they don’t get grade-A shooting lanes. It’s been good. We’ve got to keep it going. So far to start the season we’ve been doing really well on the penalty kill.