The Carolina Hurricanes once again went on the road and lost a playoff game, falling 5-2 to the New York Rangers Saturday night in Madison Square Garden as the Rangers forced game seven.
The Canes are now 0-6 on the road in these playoffs and will be playing in game seven for the second series in a row, as Saturday night’s showing on the road left much to be desired.
Antti Raanta struggled mightily and was pulled for Pyotr Kochetkov. The Canes couldn’t score on the power play and let the Rangers tally twice on the man advantage, as second-period goals from Brady Skjei and Vincent Trocheck did little more than give the Hurricanes some false hope in the middle frame.
Following the loss, head coach Rod Brind’Amour,
Here is what they had to say:
On the start to the game: It wasn’t a bad start. Our first few shifts, I think Aho has the breakaway, and then they come down and get that one. The bad start is that we started from behind. We came out pretty well again. You’ve got to get (Igor Shesterkin) credit, he made a couple good saves to keep them in, and then they got going. We got behind again and that’s where it got tough.
On Antti Raanta’s performance: I’m sure he’d like to have those back. It’s tough. You’ve got to make those saves, but it’s behind us now. We turn the page and the good news is we don’t have to end on that. We’ve got another shot here.
On if Raanta will start game 7: Give me a day to figure it out, but yes, he’ll be starting.
On Raanta shaking off this performance: If you’re going to go down, these are the easy ones to just let it go. Once we got behind, we never really got going again, and there’s a lot of guys that didn’t play very well. So it’s a lot easier to shake off a game like that than a game where you’re right in it and something happens.
On the power play: They got a couple power-play goals and we didn’t. That’s also the difference in the game. We had a good power play to start. There were a lot of good opportunities. We’ve got to find a way to get those in. Getting behind isn’t great, and getting behind by two is not the best situation. You start to open up a little bit. It wasn’t like we gave up a ton of chances tonight, but when we did they were too high quality.
On the animosity in the series: I don’t really see it being any different than any other playoff series. It’s maybe even less. It’s just the nature of things. You’re going to have a little bit of that. But I don’t see it being any different than anything else.
On Jaccob Slavin’s high-sticking penalty: We had a couple of those. They’re accidental, but it is what it is. He was pretty adamant. I’ve never seen him that adamant. He obviously wasn’t trying to high stick anybody, we know that. He’s going for the puck. Tonight was one of those nights nothing was going our way.
On regrouping mentally and on rallying Raanta after this game: We’re going to try to scrap this game and move on past it. We obviously did the same exact thing in the first round with the wins at home and losses on the road. Our goalies, Raanta has been solid all playoffs long. We did give up those shots. There were some grade-A chances that he made some big saves on. We’ve got to be a little better as a team defensively and limit those grade-A chances. He’s been a rock for us. He’s been a huge part of us being where we are at right now. We’ve got a ton of confidence in him.
On going back home with confidence there: Yeah, obviously right now we’re frustrated that we couldn’t close it out. But we’ll forget about this pretty quickly. We’ve got a lot of confidence at home, like our record shows. So, we’re excited. We’ll be ready to go on Monday.
On if there is some danger to being overconfident at home: 100 percent. We did this last series, like I said. We come into every game with confidence. Being at home has been way better for us. If we play our game and stop defensively and limit their chances and stay out of the penalty box, I like our chances.
On New York getting one right back after the Canes got a goal to make it 3-1: Obviously after getting one it hurts to give one back right away. But this team all year long, even if we’re down by a couple goals there’s not much panic on the bench. We’re confident that if we create enough chances by getting pucks to the net and get to the net for rebounds that we can get back into any game. Obviously that hurts. The next couple shifts after a goal you want to be solid. It just didn’t happen.
On the road struggles: It’s obviously frustrating. Obviously you want to come here and win some games. It’s been our starts, for sure. We’ve had some slow starts, and they’ve capitalized quickly on us. In this league it’s tough to come back when you’re trailing. Obviously we started handing them a couple of penalties. We dug ourselves that hole. We had some more in the third, and that was it.
On if there is anything they need to do to rally Raanta ahead of game seven: No, we’re not worried about Raanta. He’ll be ready to go.
On how they balance their physicality with not taking penalties: I don’t think the penalties we took were physical ones. There were a couple high sticks and some missed plays and errors that you just don’t need. We’ve got to continue to play physical and play our style and use our forecheck to our advantage. We’re going to do that back home.
On their confidence heading back home: Game sevens are game sevens. Obviously it’s a big match. We are comfortable there, but we’re going to need everyone. It’s not easy. From the goalie all the way up, everyone is going to have to show up and be ready to battle. We need to be sharp in our details and puck battles and stuff. We’re going to need everyone to win that game seven, for sure.
On if he felt like the team had a sense of knowing they had a game seven at home to fall back on: No. We came here to win. Like I said, we needed a better start obviously. We can’t give teams a couple goals and couple penalties. I thought we battled hard. We still created a lot. We had opportunities to score. We had some mental mistakes. We still gave up not a whole lot of shots, but one too many grade-As for our goalies. We’ve got to do a better job. They’re the type of team that can score quickly. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping those grade-As down but still play our style and our game.