Frederik Andersen registered his third shutout of the season, turning aside 32 shots, Andrei Svechnikov scored two goals, and Sebastian Aho tied Jeff O’Neill for third all-time on the Hurricanes scoring list.
After the game, head coach Rod Brind’Amour along with Tony DeAngelo, Aho and Andersen spoke with the media. Here’s what they had to say:
On 40 dominant minutes and the challenge of the third period when it’s going that way; It’s kind of human nature. We had a good game, game is kind of in hand. You can say the right things and the intentions are there, but you just come off it a little and take three penalties. That period wasn’t great, but we had done enough work to build the game that it really wasn’t an issue.
On Jordan Martinook’s energy: Totally. That’s, to me, the value of that kind of player. Especially this time of year, this week where you’re just playing what feels like every day. He had been out, so it’s nice that he brought that energy to the group. He had a good game. He was a big part.
On Martinook never having to ease into a game: No. He’s had enough time off. His easy time is over.
On Andersen’s consistency: Exactly. If we want to get to wherever we want to get to, so that position has to be solid as a rock. He’s been great. [Antti Raanta] has been great lately. It’s real comforting. You’re going to have your breakdowns. You’re going to have your mistakes. When you can suddenly just cover them up, that’s big. Even tonight. We obviously didn’t give up much, but there was a breakaway in the first period. It’s these little things that just crept in. There was a bounce on one where a guy high flips it and it bounces. Those are going to happen. He shuts the door, and we keep moving on. He was big.
On if it’s surprising that Andrei Svechnikov is already at 200 points: Not really. He probably should have more, really, if you look at how he’s played. There are stretches where he’s a pretty good player with no points. He’s getting a lot of empty netters, so he’s kind of making up for a lot of those chances that we talk about where they don’t go in for him. That line was good at times. It’s nice to see it. He has a knack to put those games away, so that was good.
On Svechnikov getting to the front of the net: He’s going to the areas he’s got to go to to score. That’s part of it. It’s less now with the cross checks and things, but you’ve got to have a little courage to get in there. Obviously he doesn’t lack for that.
On the goalie mask rule and on Andersen saying it maybe needs to get looked at: He’s a goalie. He’s going to say that. Let’s be real, it’s still on. What’s he going to do? I don’t really get it. I think it’s actually a good rule. I didn’t really understand it, but it’s to prevent the fake one and just tossing it. Once you get possession, then they do blow it. That’s the rule. I think it’s a good rule. How many of these have you seen over the years where the mask is still on. It’s a good way to stop the play, so I think it’s a good rule.
On Cam Ward being the master at getting the mask off to stop plays: We’ve had a couple guys here, but it’s every goal. But why wouldn’t you? If they’re going to stop the play, that’s a way to do it.
On the players fighting for the shutout: The players want to win the game, but when there is a shutout on the line that’s all for the goalie. That’s all it is. I thought we did a nice job on the 6-on-5. It was a long stretch there, but I thought we really did what we had to do. We got the empty netter, so we got rewarded for it.
On if it’s tough to keep that edge when they’re dominating through 40 minutes like that: It’s tough to say. They were playing a little loose, but they’re creative. They hold onto the puck and try to make a lot of plays. St. Louis has the plan. I don’t want to say loose now, but it’s a creative style. They’re holding the puck and possession, trying to make plays. You’ve got to be ready. You can’t get bored. A couple times the breakaways and some chances they had, it’s just about making nice plays. I think we did a real good job with the puck tonight and limiting that offense they were looking for.
On the game as a whole: It all starts with [Jordan Staal]’s line, the way they hold onto the puck down low. It just starts tiring the other team out. And then the next line comes out and they do it, the next line comes out and they do it, and we’re getting low to high and just trying to get a lot of volume. The more volume the better. When it happens to you, you get tired. When the puck is going side to side and then it’s up in your box now. We did a really good job of that at the start of the game and tonight. That’s our identity, and we stuck to it.
On if it’s frustrating not to score on the second-period power plays: 5-on-3, yeah. The other ones, it is what it is. We’re going to get our share. If we move the puck around and get shots and traffic, we’re going to score. But 5-on-3 there’s room to improve there. I think sometimes on the 5-on-3 you tend to get set in structure and looking for a perfect play. If you’ve got five really good guys who can play hockey, in my opinion maybe just play a little more hockey, find the open lane and get the puck to the net. You’re outnumbering them by two, so if you get the puck to the net you should have something, whether it’s a rebound or whatever. We don’t need to look for the perfect play. The power play, last game in Tampa it stunk, but we’ve just got to keep getting better and better. We’re clicking pretty good.
On Jordan Martinook’s energy being contagious: Yeah, personally as a player I love energetic guys. They’re tough to play against on the other end when you’re playing against energetic guys. You hit the nail on the head. The first shift he gets a chance. The second shift he draws a penalty, and we’re up 1-0 four seconds later. That’s the kind of stuff you need as the season goes along. We’re getting into the playoffs and you need energy and need guys to make it tough on the other team. We have a lot of those, and [Martinook] especially is one of those.
On Martinook never easing into a game: No, there’s one speed. If he has another speed, I haven’t seen it.
On the playoffs approaching and Carolina’s position: Obviously it doesn’t get talked about a lot in the locker room. In the back of everybody’s head we know what our main goal is. But we take it a step at a time. I think there’s still a little bit to play for here. There’s home ice to play for. There’s the President’s Trophy to play for. You’ve got to find meaning in the games. And also to just sharpen our game, too. No matter what seed we want to finish or whatever, we need to be ready to go and be 100 percent.
On Andersen: You don’t think about anything happening when he’s in the net. [Antti Raanta] has been fantastic, too. Freddie this year, you’re not worried when they get a chance or anything. It’s just a calm presence on the bench. He plays the puck really well as well. He’s just made so many big-time saves this year that we’re kind of getting used to it a little bit. When they come down 3-on-2, I don’t get worried. We know Freddie is going to be there to make the save, and he has been all year. He’s been great.
On not being the only Sebastian Aho to score tonight: Yeah, I saw that on the big screen. Every once in a while I look up.
On the performance tonight: It was a very solid effort through the lineup. Obviously Freddie made the saves he needed to make. Start of the game was good. First power play we score. Pretty solid five-on-five and kills at the end.
On Jordan Staal’s line providing the team with energy: This happened in the first shift of the game, but they usually have a few of those [dominant shifts] in a game. They play the puck well, they use each other well and it’s tough to play against. You wear them down being in their zone and it just gives momentum for our team. That’s the line that’s been really good for us.
On having Jordan Martinook’s energy back in the lineup: He played a great game and it was nice to see him back on the ice. Like you said, he brings that energy in the locker room and works his tail off every shift. Another player that is tough to play against I’m sure.
On if he thinks he’s going to slow down his scoring anytime soon after reaching yet another milestone: I hope not. I hope I have a lot of goals in me still and that I just keep going.
On how Tony DeAngelo runs the powerplay: An elite playmaker obviously. The quarterback of the unit. Just his plays. Breaks the puck out every time and all that stuff. He’s a great player and especially on the power play.
On how the guys in front of him played: I think we did a good job of avoiding taking penalties until in the third. Did a hell of a job keeping them from entering the zone for the most part. I think we wanted to play a complete game and we did that.
On the team keeping the puck constantly in the opposing zone: It’s nice. It happens quite a bit I think. We’ve done it a lot this year where we are just wearing them out. Making it hard on them and once the puck does change hands, they probably don’t have too much energy to go the other way. Big part of the game.
On what’s the key to the penalty kill’s success: I really think it’s tough to put a finger on one thing except that everyone’s buying in. That’s a huge reason. Everyone’s out there with a purpose and you see it out there a lot of the time. A lot of the time they don’t even get to come in and set up in the zone because we’re already on them and denying those entries and making them have to come right back. I think those have been the big keys and blocking shots doesn’t hurt either. A lot of credit to the guys.
On how officials handle equipment issues for goaltenders: I actually don’t know what the actual rule is, but I think it’s something that’s worth taking a look at maybe over the summer to make sure that the goalies are protected. I mean the next play could be pretty dangerous if he has to hop across and the helmet does come off. I didn't like that he had to resort to that to get a stoppage and that he got a penalty. I think there’s something to be changed there to look after the goalies. Obviously if there’s a big scoring chance, you can’t just blow it down, but I think he had plenty of chances to give him a chance to make sure the helmet didn’t come off.