The Carolina Hurricanes finished up an odd back-to-back Monday afternoon with a gutsy 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, as Brett Pesce won it in overtime after Frederik Andersen made some incredible saves to keep the Canes alive.
Playing their third game in four days, and second afternoon game in a row, the Canes didn’t quite have their best stuff Monday afternoon, but two points are two points. Nino Niederreiter, Vincent Trocheck and Teuvo Teravainen had the three regulation goals before Pesce won the game.
Following the win, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Niederreiter, Jaccob Slavin and Pesce spoke with members of the media.
Here’s what they had to say:
On getting the two points: I don’t care how we get it. You want the two points. I didn’t like the game. We were terrible to start the game. It’s kind of what I thought might happen. A lot of games in this week with four in six days. We’re coming off an emotional game last night. It’s set up. Exactly how that went was kind of what you expected. Freddie was good. He kept us in the game in the first period. We kind of started getting a little better as the game went on. Not much, but Freddie kept us in there. We got a couple of bounces. We killed some good penalties. In overtime we were ok. It wasn’t a great game by us, but you’re not going to have beautiful games every night. It’s just not going to happen. It was a good win.
On getting seven points in four games during this tough stretch: I ask a lot of these guys, and they give it every night. Tonight we just didn’t have it, you could tell. The fact that they still found a way to build some sort of game. Again, our D, when one guy goes down and we get put in the penalty box and we’re four guys playing for all these minutes. It says a lot about those guys.
On Trocheck’s effort and his ability to grind it out: That’s what I’m talking about. We have a bunch of these type of players. You could tell we didn’t have a lot of energy and juice. These guys dig in. Our D, [Jordan Staal]. There’s a lot of guys that kind of drag us to the end of this game and find a way to get it done.
On if there’s anything he can say or do when the team doesn’t have that ‘juice’: Not really. You’re staying stuff all the time, and then at some point you realize that it doesn’t matter. You’re thinking ‘well ok, we’re gonna have to get scored on for us to get going.’ There’s always something to get us going. We got through the first, so then it was like ‘ok, we can regroup a little bit.’ I think the guys all understand. They know we’re not playing the right way. We slowly built the game in the second and third period to compete with the other team, and we got one more than they did.
On Andersen: He’s been great. The goals that went in, we shot the first one in ourselves, right? The other one is questionable banging around, we’re debating whether we call goalie interference. Those are the ones that beat him. He got us two points tonight, for sure.
On the puck management in overtime: It was great. The only time they got it was when they tripped us. We had the puck and got tripped, and then all of a sudden it became somewhat of their show for a while. We got it back, and it was a great shot and play by Pesce. All of those minutes and he’s still able to jump up in the play like that. We’ve got some special guys here.
On the early period scoring: I think for us we know we have to lead the way when we get the first shift and set the tone as much as we can. It’s been working over the last couple of games. It’s something we try to do. We are all veterans on our line, so we try to move the team in the right direction.
On having all hands on deck to get through a second straight afternoon game: Yeah, absolutely. Our record hasn’t been very good on back-to-backs. We know coming into this game that it’s going to be a tough game. They’re obviously still fighting for a playoff spot. For us, we’ve just got to make sure we stay the course and do the little things right. It’s a tough game. We didn’t play as good as we wanted to, but we got the win and that’s what matters.
On being able to close out these games where the other team battles back: There were times during this game where I thought we played very well, and they kept coming back. For us, it was a good test. I think we’ve got to make sure we close out games in regulation, obviously.
On guys stepping up: It’s huge. We talk about the depth that we have on this team all the time. Forwards, goaltending, defense, whatever it is. Guys get the opportunity to come in and play huge games. It’s unfortunate, especially with the [Brendan Smith] incident. That’s tough to watch. But we’ve got guys who step up and play big games. It’s huge to see that, and the contribution from everyone is always good to see.
On this being a ‘gutsy’ win: It wasn’t pretty. I don’t think we got to our best hockey at any point tonight. We definitely grinded it out. We had some high-end skill plays that got us some goals. A couple lucky bounces as well. It’s two points, and that’s all that matters.
On if there’s any concern with the team right now and on the vibe: I wouldn’t say there’s any concern. As a team, we set ourselves to a high standard. [Brind’Amour] holds us to a high standard, as well. We know the team that we have within those walls. When we’re not playing our game, obviously with the outcomes we’ve had over the past couple weeks you’ve seen that. As a team, I wouldn’t say that the vibe is bad by any means, but we know we all have better to give. We know if we want to reach our goal by the end of the year we can’t be taking nights off. We’ve got to be consistent.
On if he’s ever surprised anymore by the saves Andersen is able to make: No. Surprised, no. But thankful? Absolutely. It’s nice to have him back there.
On getting the winner after the tough last two days minutes wise: It’s a good feeling for sure. I think I’m more relieved that the games are over, to be honest. Four D, that’s tough. I’m not going to lie. It’s a good feeling. We worked hard the last two games, man. We didn’t quit on anything. It starts with our goaltending. Antti [Raanta] was great yesterday. Freddie with those saves at the end was incredible. It’s a good few days.
On grinding out this win: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t think we had our best today. But you’re not going to have your best in an 82 game season. Good teams find ways to win, and we did that.
On his overtime winner: [Trocheck] had some gap on their D, and I knew he kind of had the time to make a play. I had a step on their guy, and he kind of just threw it over. I knew it was in the air, so I had to try to bat it down to control it. More luck than anything, but thankfully I settled it down and just tried to put it on net.
On the stretch late in regulation when they were down to four defensemen: It’s not easy, especially on a back-to-back. When you go down to four D, it’s always tough. Sometimes it makes it more fun. You’re going out every other shift. You don’t even have time to think. You’re just kind of playing. Your instincts take over. You ask anybody, the more minutes you play the more fun you’re going to have. It wasn’t too bad.