They had another late scare, but the totality of their game was there through long stretches of the game, especially in the second period.
Rod Brind’Amour, Andrei Svechnikov, Brady Skjei, and Martin Necas spoke to the media after the win. Here’s what they had to say.
On the win: It was a pretty solid game, a close game. Both teams played really hard, especially early. We capitalized on a couple of chances, and then that power-play goal was big to get us ahead. I know they got a couple there at the end. Overall, I thought teams played hard and [Andersen] made some big saves in there at crucial times. It was a good game.
On Skjei: He’s been really solid all year. The goals, as I’ve said before, he can skate so well, he has the ability to get up in the rush. Tonight, it’s not up in the rush, but it’s the skating that got that goal. He got down the wall and made a nice move. He’s been good all year. It’s nice for him and us to see him score, but it’s not surprising.
On if there’s an update on Trocheck: No, I don’t think so, but we’re still waiting to see if he’s going to be out for a little while or not. We’ll probably know more in the morning.
On Kotkaniemi: He was really good. I basically just put him in that spot and doubled him up when we had to. He was really good. He had a tough matchup, and I thought he was solid.
On Nashville pulling the goalie with so much time left: I mean, the game should be over, so you have nothing to lose. They got the one, and then the other one, we had it on our stick and gave it right to them. Then, boom. All of a sudden, you're back in the game. We see it more and more now. Teams are pulling them way earlier. You have nothing to lose.
On Svechnikov’s goal-scoring and overall game: It’s funny. He’s getting the results. I think he’s had stretches where he’s played this well, but the puck wasn’t going in. He’s getting the same amount of opportunities, but now the puck seems to be going in for him. And overall, over the last year or year and a half, we’ve seen him really mature. That’s just him getting smarter and getting older. I know he’s not old, but once you’ve been around for a little while, you start to figure it out.
On the importance of bouncing back and getting a win tonight: It’s very important. It’s been a tough two games for us, so it’s important. We have to win every game, especially before the playoffs to get that mentality in the game and move that game into the playoffs. I know that’s pretty far away still, but that’s what we have to do right now.
On his empty-net goal: Yeah, it was great. [Slavin] made a great play and I just turned my speed on, and that’s all I have to do.
On Skjei’s goal: Yeah, we run that play every time at practice, so it’s nice to see that work when we’ve been practicing it a lot. It’s nice to see that score in the game.
On his big offensive production as of late: It’s awesome. My hand feels good, and it’s awesome when you’re doing those things. I try to focus on the hard work, that’s about it, so if I’m going to be rewarded for it, I’m happy.
On his hot offensive streak: It was good to keep that going. I’ve been finding some pretty good spots to put the puck in the back of the net, and I’m lucky to capitalize on a few. Hopefully, it’ll keep going.
On how his goal happened: It’s just a play that we have. I made a read and found some open ice. I took it to the backhand, which was, I think, the right play, and then I put it in.
On how good it felt to get back in the win category: It was huge. We had a ton of energy tonight. I think everyone played hard. It felt like a playoff atmosphere, obviously, after playing those guys a lot last year and in the playoffs, too. The energy has definitely there. We brought that emotion. It got a little sketchy there, but to close it out felt really good. Now, we can move on and learn from that game.
On the recent trend of sloppy late-game play: I think it’s a little bit of unlucky puck luck for us. The one was a messy play that got tipped over to the other side. The other one, I probably should’ve gotten out, off the faceoff, so I can some credit for that. That was probably my fault. It’s one of our strengths, I think. In the past, we’ve been good at 6-on-5 and closing out games, so I think it’s a little bit of unluckiness.
On the importance of Slavin’s late second-period goal: That was huge. That was enormous. Whenever you can get a goal late, and go up two was really big. It was a great finish by [Slavin] and a great play by [Svechnikov]. And I think [Aho] was the one who passed it to him. Those three, that was a big play for us, for sure.
On his multi-point game: Scoring helps. Getting a couple of points, get going more. It helps for every player to get a couple of points and get going a little more. It was good.
On the ramped-up physicality early in the game: It feels like, lately, a lot of games, especially in the first period, it’s more about hitting everything you see. It’s kind of like playoff hockey, so at least we can get ready for that. We had a good response.
On how their strong second period: Just playing more of our game. We went straight from our d-zone, straight on forecheck, won some battles. That goal at the end of the period by [Slavin] was huge, giving us a two-goal lead going into the third. It was huge. A good team effort.
On Svechnikov’s high level of play as of late: Yeah. We all know what he’s capable of. He’s a great player and he’s showing that he has everything he needs to be a star player in the league. It’s good for him and good for the team that we have Svech at his best.