The Carolina Hurricanes suffered a shutout loss to their former netminder Thursday night in PNC Arena, falling 3-0 as Alex Nedeljkovic posted a 46-save shutout against his old squad.
Nedeljkovic was outstanding for the entire night, turning away 24 high-danger chances in a game where the Hurricanes dominated every statistic except the final score and the special teams battle.
Following the loss, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho spoke with members of the media.
Here is what they had to say:
On if this just a game where you tip your cap to Nedeljkovic and move on: Yup. Well said.
On every team going through losses where they can’t score and on if it looks a little worse for the Canes because they still usually generate so many chances: That’s the way we want to do it. If you’re going to get zero, at least put up 50 shots. Then, like you said, you can just tip your hat and move on.
On what he’s looking for from his guys at this point in the season: It’s tough. There’s no question. We’re still trying to do the same things. We want to finish first. That was what we set out to do for these 82 games. So, we still want to accomplish that. We made it a little tougher tonight, obviously, but that’s still what we’re trying to do. That’s the goal.
On Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s first game back: He got better, I thought, as the game went on. His first period you could tell he was a little bit red-faced. He hasn’t really practiced or anything, so I give him credit for getting his game going. I think he’ll continue to get better as we move on.
On the power play: Yeah, that’s the difference in the game. That first unit needs to be way better. The second unit is fine. They got in and did their stuff, had a couple chances. It’s just a lot of turnovers for no reason. It’s just weird things that we’ve been doing. So, definitely need to be working on that, or at least talking about it. It’s tough to get a lot of practice time right now. But that’s an area where we have to get better.
On if he can really say anything different after these games: No because it’s going to happen of the course of the year. It’s going to happen when you have a good team. I give my guys a ton of credit here. They played hard. 5-on-5, that was about as good of a game as you’re going to get. It just felt like we were getting chance after chance. Like you say, it just didn’t work out. We’ve probably got a few more of these this year than in years past that feel this way because we wouldn’t get as many opportunities.
On Nedeljkovic: Yeah, tip your cap. Ned was good. Obviously we’ve seen that he can steal games. It felt like we had enough chances definitely to score a couple. So yeah, tip your cap. He was good. I thought we created a lot and just couldn’t get one by him.
On every team going through these tough games: Yeah, it’s crazy. Sometimes we’ll score six with 20 shots. I wish I had the right answer for you, but he was good. We definitely created enough, so I’m not worried about that. If you get 40 shots but they’re all from the outside it’s a different story, but we were definitely in his eyes. He played well.
On if these are frustrating or do you just tip your cap to Nedeljkovic and move on: Sometimes it is frustrating. With those scoring chances you are supposed to score enough goals to win a hockey game. But yeah, Ned played really well. Obviously they defended very well today, so you’ve got to tip your cap to them. But at the same time, there’s no reason to panic or anything but learn from these and be a little bit sharper when we get enough chances.
On the power play: Not good enough. Today if the power play gets one then I’m pretty sure we win that game. The power play let us down today, especially our group. We keep working on it, and the next time we go out there we’ve got to have a lot of confidence and trust each other. We’ve done it before. We’ve got to score goals when it comes down the stretch. Just keep working on it and the bounces will come.
On if he believes they need to stick with the same unit on the power play: All five players are very good power play players. We need to be on the same page and maybe get one greasy one and get that confidence back and outwork the PK. I’m very confident, and we’ve got to turn this around.