The story of the night for the Hurricanes was netminder Antti Raanta, who stopped 35 of 36 shots faced in his first playoff appearance. Rookie Seth Jarvis opened the scoring for the Canes in the second period, with Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Andrei Svechnikov adding goals for the home team.
It was a really tight game for the first half of the night, but things opened up especially in the third period as the Hurricanes were able to put their foot on the gas and take a nice advantage to open up the series.
Following the game-one win, head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Niederreiter, Jarvis and Raanta spoke with members of the media.
Here is what they had to say:
On the game: It was a good game. It’s kind of what we expected would happen. Two teams and an evenly matched game, really. They were good at the start. We weren’t as good. [Raanta] played really well. He made some big saves. We got our game going a little bit in the second. And then we came out obviously in the third not so well. But we got a huge goal there from Teravainen. It was really big. I don’t think we had much action going on, and they were kind of coming. That settled it down a little bit for the rest of the game.
On Jarvis and Raanta: We’ve talked about experience versus not experienced. I’m not sure how much it matters at this time of the year sometimes. The young guy looked fine. He certainly didn’t look out of place. And [Raanta] looked great. Checked the box there, for sure.
On the penalty kill: Big key. We drew a couple there. It changes the game if you give up one there, obviously. They did a good job of killing ours, too. There wasn’t an advantage there tonight, so that was good honestly.
On that setting the tone to improve on something that’s been a problem against Boston in the playoffs in the past: Yeah, you can go back two or three years. We know how big and important special teams are, so that’s huge.
On limiting second-chance opportunities for Boston: They put more pucks than anybody on the net. They do it with authority. They get there. We knew coming in that was going to happen. We can do a better job of doing the same thing. We probably didn’t get to the net as well as we need to moving forward. But they didn’t have a ton of second chances, which is good. But yeah, we need to do a better job on the initial.
On the Canes flipping the switch after the first period: Taking an early penalty didn’t help. That kind of put us on our heels a little bit. Thankfully we killed it, but probably midway through that period we got going a little bit to create some chances. The second period, I thought, was pretty solid. Obviously we got a couple goals and that allows you to take a little breather even though you’re not supposed to. That’s kind of what happened. It allowed us to get ahead. They have to chase the game. That’s what led to the third goal. They were being a little more aggressive than they probably normally would be, and we were able to take advantage of it.
On limiting Boston’s top line: [Jordan Staal]. He was good, as he is every night. That line was good. Everyone played hard. Both teams. Nobody left anything out there. I’m sure you’re going to see more of that as this series goes on.
On scoring goals with skill: You have to be able to take advantage of your opportunities because in the playoffs you don’t know when they are going to come. We had a couple of opportunities and were able to cash in. That’s huge. You’ve got to play the game in their end. It was pretty clear. They got it in our end and had opportunities. We got it in their end and had opportunities. Now it’s figuring out how to do that more.
On if he said anything specific to Raanta before the game: Nope.
On if he said anything specific to Jarvis before the game: Nope. It’s another game. It’s a big game. But their preparation and everything they do, they’ve done it all year. That’s the thing about our group. They’ve worked hard every night for the whole year so that nothing really has to change. Now, the stakes are bigger. The emotion gets bigger, but your game doesn’t really change. Or it shouldn’t.
On Raanta getting a moment in the spotlight and taking advantage of it: Of course. That’s why we brought him in here. We brought him in for that reason. You’ve got to have two guys, and with the situation the way it is that’s why we brought him in here. Good for him. He had a great first game, and we’re going to need more of it.
On if he saw any wide eyes when the team first stepped on the ice: No. Again, it was obviously pretty loud. But we’ve had good crowds all year. This building is very, very emotional. You feel it. Even in the regular season we had some real good energy. It was more for sure, but I don’t know that it’s going from nothing to that. But it’s great. The crowds are great in here. We love it.
On Raanta: Yeah, absolutely. He was definitely huge for us. They had a lot of shots on net, and there’s obviously things that we can get a lot better at. Obviously he stood on his head, which helped us get the win.
On wearing Boston down: I think the longer the game went on, the better we got going. After the first we knew we had to get better. There were times where we played the way we wanted to play, and there were times where we had way too many turnovers. That cost us with the momentum, but overall it was a good first win.
On scoring: Yeah, absolutely. It helps when you get on the sheet, but at the end of the day it’s a team game. You’ve got to find a way to contribute in any kind of way that you can, and I was fortunate for it to go in.
On everyone making plays and Ian Cole and Brendan Smith having goal-line saves: Getting the first win is always the hardest one. It took every single guy to make those desperation plays. You mentioned Cole and Smith who came up big tonight. And we need them to play big.
On the penalty kill: They were terrific. They have been terrific all season. That’s something where we’ve got to make sure we stay out of the box to give us the advantage.
On Jarvis: He’s a great player. He goes there where it hurts the most in the front of the net and gets some nice tips. He’s a great player for us.
On his goal: That was first of all a lot of net front going on with Jordan [Staal]. It’s tough when he’s the big man in front, nobody sees everything. I was just trying to get the puck to the net, and I’m lucky it went in. It was definitely a good goal.
On how the moment has felt scoring in his playoff debut: It’s awesome. Honestly, I saw Walt [Ruff] write something up about it today or yesterday. It just kind of made me reminisce on the beginning of the year, where I was and what my mentality was. To be here, I’ve been very blessed and I’m honored to be in this position and to be able to have success early.
On what playoff hockey was like: Oh, way more [intense]. I think honestly the fans... that building is insane. Everyone was saying like, ‘oh, it’s going to be crazy,’ but you can only believe so much. But that was awesome. The game itself was obviously physical. Really physical. I felt like I took a lot more hits. I think they’re also letting us play a little more which is nice. That building is electric.
On his fearless mentality: It just kind of was embedded in me from a young age. To just not be scared out there. I think when you play scared is when you make mistakes and that’s when your game kind of falls apart. It’s honestly, just about staying confident and obviously the help of my linemates. I’m playing with two of the best players in the NHL, so it’s pretty easy to stay confident. I just have to be fearless and hopefully things will go my way.
On the confidence in Antti Raanta: He was awesome tonight. He was really good, but we expect that from him. He’s an incredible goaltender. For him to come out... I didn’t know it was his first playoff start, but that’s awesome for him. What more can you ask from him.
On his first playoff start: Obviously a little butterflies here and there. As we came on the ice, it was just crazy to get on the ice and hear the crowd. You just started to get the energy from them. Pretty much when the game started it was just focusing on one puck at a time, one shot at a time. The first shot was obviously tricky. It almost sneaked in from the short side, but after that I just felt really comfortable there. It was an awesome, awesome feeling to play and get the win.
On if he knew he had it in him to play like this: Yeah, when you get to the playoffs I think it gets a little bit more physical. Every small detail matters when the playoffs start. For me it was the first start in the playoffs in the NHL, but I was just trying to focus on how I’ve been successful and what I’ve been able to do to get to this point. It was working nicely. It’s only one game, one win. Now it’s just regrouping and getting ready for Wednesday.
On how it compared to what he expected: I still remember my first year in Chicago. We went to St. Louis in the first playoff game, and I was backing up [Corey] Crawford, and at the time I was like ‘I couldn’t be there. That’s way too loud and way too physical.’ But as the years go by and you’ve been able to be in those situations as a backup, you see what it takes. Obviously I got a couple games under my belt, just haven’t gotten the start. Obviously it’s a big thing to get that first one. When I came from Finland we went all the way in the Finnish league, so at least I have a little bit of something to bring from Finnish years to here. To have that playoff experience in the Finnish league, obviously it’s not the NHL, but I just try to memorize those things that I did at that time and just go in and enjoy the game. It was awesome.
On getting a lot of action early in the game: Yeah, obviously that was big for me. A lot of shots, a lot of action. There was not time to think too much. I just went out there and started to play. As the game went on we started to get back to our game and get pucks deep. That’s kind of how we played the whole third period. We killed the penalties when we needed. I think it was a really good team effort to get those rebounds, blocking shots, big hits. It was a really big team effort.
On guys selling out to block shots and make the saves behind him: It’s a big thing, obviously. At the same time, you obviously don’t want to give up too many easy rebounds. You want to cover the puck when you can and get the whistle when you can. But sometimes there’s a little tip or screen, so the only thing on your mind is to make a save whatever it takes. It’s huge when the guys are blocking and when there’s a rebound they’re putting their bodies on the line and clearing the puck. It helps your job a little bit, so it’s a big thing.
On starting a playoff game being something he really wanted before he was done: Yeah, absolutely. Every year when you come to training camp and you start playing the regular season, obviously first is to get to the playoffs. But in the back of your mind you always want to get that playoff experience. This is the best time in a hockey player’s life. It’s spring and the weather is nice outside and games are getting tougher every night. Only wins matter, so that’s obviously huge motivation to go forward.
On the atmosphere: It was something else. Every time when the fans started to go your ears were ringing a little bit. When we scored the first goal it was like ‘what’s happening?’ Everyone was saying that it’s the loudest building in the NHL, but I couldn’t imagine that it was going to get this loud. I can’t until Wednesday to hear them again. It’s huge energy for us. You really don’t want to disappoint the fans when they are putting everything on the line in there. It’s an awesome feeling and an awesome experience for me, for sure.
On recovering for Wednesday: I think it’s the playoffs so you recover and play again. Tomorrow we’re probably going to watch some tape and learn from a few things. Then it’s just getting back on track and starting to prepare for Wednesday. It’s obviously going to be a different one, for sure. Every game is so huge. Just try to prepare yourself to be ready when the puck drops. It’s a little bit of time to recover, so try to sleep some tonight and get ready for Wednesday.