It wasn’t the most complete effort to say the least, but the Carolina Hurricanes went to New Jersey Saturday and picked up two points with a 3-2 overtime win over the Devils.
The Canes scored two goals in the final five minutes of regulation to tie things up and force overtime, as Brady Skjei and Nino Niederreiter beat John Gillies, who played an incredible game.
Then in the extra period, Tony DeAngelo made a great play to retrieve the puck and tee up Seth Jarvis, who blasted home the game winner.
In net for the Canes’ was NHL debutant Pyotr Kochetkov, who got his first NHL win with a 17-save performance.
Following the victory, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Niederreiter, Skjei and Jarvis spoke with members of the media.
Here is what they had to say:
On Kochetkov’s performance and breakaway save in the third period: You can’t fault him on the first one. Through two periods he didn’t have a lot of action. I think he’d probably like to have the second one back, but like you said the game is probably done if they get that third one. He made two really quality saves after it was 2-0 that kept us in the game and obviously gave us a chance.
On playing with a playoff mindset: You can’t manufacture that. It’s a long year. You say the right things and all the players have the right intentions, but it’s just hard. It’s hard to play that way every night, especially when you know whether you win or lose, it’s human nature, but we’re going to be playing in a week. We came off it a little bit tonight, for sure. But we still found a way, so that says a lot about the group.
On the difference in the third: We weren’t very good in the third, and then all of a sudden with five minutes to go we had a couple shifts led by Jordan [Staal]’s line. They always seem to be the catalyst. Finally kind of got to how we wanted to play. We knew they were hunkering down. They had five guys smothering the puck in their end. We needed to get pucks through to the net. That was the game plan going in, and we didn’t execute it very well until the last couple of minutes.
On DeAngelo hitting a little bit of a lull but producing again: That’s you guys just looking at stat sheets for numbers. He’s been in the offense every night. He’s had countless grade-As over the last stretch. So, he’s always involved in the offense. Now he’s got a couple of assists and guys connected, but he’s been creating offense all year.
On Skjei’s goal being the prime example of just getting the puck on net: Well, that’s what they were giving us. The tops were open. They were trying to block the shots. Eventually if you shoot enough, you’re going to get some bounces. We didn’t do enough of that for two and a half periods. But if you do it enough, you’ll get a bounce here and there.
On Kochetkov giving a little speech in the locker room: It’s a great moment for him. You play this game in the NHL, it’s special. Especially that first game. He’ll remember this forever, especially with the way this game ended up. I’m not really sure what he said, nobody really does. But it was a nice moment for us.
On Jarvis’ game-winning goal: We were kind of lucky. They were gone. His guy was gone. It was Tony who made the play. He jumped in front of the pass, otherwise it’s a two-on-one going the other way. That’s what overtime does. If you go for it and it doesn’t happen, you’re giving up an odd-man rush at your net. Obviously he got the result.
On the importance of this win: Ask me in a week, right? We may look back and go ‘it didn’t matter’. Or it’ll be ‘wow, that was a great win that got us this.’ I don’t know what it’s going to get us. We’re going to have to play some great team in the playoffs. It’s just good for the group to know when we’re down in these little moments, not playing your best, and still find a way, that’s what we’ll take from this game.
On if finishing first in the Metro has a lot of significance: Maybe. You come out at the start of the season and say that you want to be the best, so that’s still the goal.
On sticking with it: Yeah, absolutely. It definitely wasn’t our best game. We put ourselves in a hole, and I think that’s something we’ve got to learn from. But we stuck to our game, and eventually the bounces went in. Happy we won.
On Kochetkov’s day: He was terrific. It’s definitely not easy for him coming here. He doesn’t speak any English. He was terrific in there. I’m very happy we got that win for him. That’s a big win for him.
On Jarvis’ consistency as a rookie: He’s getting better and better each and every night. You can tell he feels more and more comfortable. He’s still learning, and he does a fantastic job with it.
On his goal: To be honest, I don’t even remember exactly it went down, but I knew I had to go to the net. It was a lot of traffic and luckily it came to my side, and I had a chance to bang it home.
On the difference in the third period: We knew we had to get the win. If we want to get first in our division we’ve got to win every single night because the Rangers are not sleeping. We just knew it was important to get the win.
On the importance of this road trip: Definitely huge. It’s probably going to come right down to the wire with who is going to take first place in our division, and we’ve just got to focus on recovering tonight for a big game tomorrow.
On just sticking with it: Yeah, definitely. That’s kind of our MO all year. If we have a little adversity or we’re down in a game, I feel like we don’t panic at all. We know if we play the way we know how to play and create some chances, it’s nice to see a couple go in. The overtime goal was huge, too.
On getting the win for Kochetkov: Yeah, that was great. It’s obviously a big moment for him in his career. We wanted to play well in front of him. He did a great job. I think he made some huge saves for us. He looked very confident back there. It was a great start to his career, and we’re really happy for him.
On him hitting a career high in goals: Yeah, I’ll take it. You set goals every year, and you always try to up the totals in that department. I’ve got to see a replay, but I don’t even know how it went in. We’ll take it. I’m just trying to keep getting pucks to the net.
On his goal being a prime example of needing to just get pucks to the net: Yeah, that’s kind of what we’re taught. As a D-man, we want to get as many pucks to the net as we can. Even if it’s not on net, you never know what’s going to happen if it goes off a leg or one of our guys tips it. I’m just trying to create some chaos in front of the net.
On the mindset of the team after going down 2-0: Obviously we were a little bit upset, but all year our team has been so good, so no one gets too rattled. It’s always pretty even keel. We know if we play the way our system is set up, then we’ll get some chances. And obviously we capitalized big tonight.
On what changed in the third period: We just got to our game. I think we forechecked really well. Whenever our forecheck is on and us D are pinching to keep plays alive, I think that’s when we’re at our best. It seems like that kind of tilted the ice in the third, and we had a few nice bounces. A great comeback.
On sticking with it: You’re exactly right. We always think we have a chance to win it every game. It starts from [Brind’Amour] kind of preaching that. Our leadership comes behind us and really helps us out with not losing confidence in what we’re supposed to do. When you’re down 2-0 with little time left it’s always tough, but to be able to come back like that just says a lot about our team and our group.
On his emotions on the game winner: I was a little scared. I thought the goalie saved it. So, once I saw the ref went in and Tony celebrating, I was pumped. It’s a really cool feeling. And it’s definitely a bigger goal than just mine for [Kochetkov] to get that win. He played so well for us the whole game, so to get that makes it a lot sweeter.
On the atmosphere for Kochetkov in the locker room after the game: It was electric. Everyone was super happy. It’s funny because he doesn’t quite speak very much English, so for him it’s awesome. Everyone was super pumped for him. We had him do a little speech and he kind of muttered out thanks. You could just tell how excited he was with a huge smile and everything. It was just awesome to see him like that and to get that win for him.
On when he started feeling more comfortable: I think when I got scratched for those three games a couple months ago, maybe a month ago, I think that really helped me. I was kind of struggling to find my game and what I needed to do out there, and I think coming back I based it all on ‘I better bring energy.’ That’s how my game is going to be. To find that, and then obviously to start scoring built confidence.
On if he’s hit a wall at any point: I hit a wall for a while. I think I went about 18 games without a goal. I was struggling, for sure. The time off, it really motivated me. No one likes not playing. I was pissed off. So to come back in, I wanted to make sure I made an impact. That’s what I try to do every night.
On what makes Carolina a team that could have a long run in the playoffs: I just think our versatility. All of our lines bring something different, but I think the main thing is we all bring energy. [Staal]’s line is a big, heavy line. They can create, like you saw out there. They had those two goals that were huge for us. And then we have my line with [Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen]. We can kind of play fast. That’s a big thing. All of our lines have speed, have someone who can skate. And then our D-men are elite, all of them. That’s kind of the recipe.