The season came to an end for the Carolina Hurricanes in PNC Arena Monday night, as the Canes lost 6-2 to the Rangers.
It was the first ever loss in game seven for the Hurricanes as a team, as New York dominated from start to finish to hand Carolina its first home loss of these playoffs.
Following the defeat, Hurricanes’ head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho spoke with members of the media.
Here is what they had to say:
On if this is the hardest moment of his coaching career: They’re all hard. Every year when it ends is always tough. It’s tougher maybe because I felt like we were in a different spot this year. It wasn’t that we were better than everybody, but I felt like we weren’t worse. We were right there. That makes it maybe a little tougher. It’s another chance, I don’t want to say lost, but it’s another year where you don’t get that chance. I’m very proud of the group, though, overall. It was a phenomenal year just the way the guys played every game from the start of preseason to now. They gave everything they had. As a coach, I’m proud of that. I’m very proud of the group, and I’m obviously very disappointed for the group.
On what needed to be better Monday night: It’s the same story. I thought we had a great first period, and then you look up and we’re down two because they got the two power play goals. It was killer because I really felt we were playing really well. That’s kind of the broken record on this series.
On the shift in the game when Jarvis got hurt: That kind of summed it all up in that shift. [Martin Necas] is jumping over. He doesn’t realize Jarvis is toast, and Jarvis is out of it. That was a tough blow in this game.
On if Antti Raanta’s injury was serious and on if he would have had a chance to play next series if they had won: Yeah...And no chance. He’s going to get checked out tomorrow, but he would have been out, I don’t know for sure. But he didn’t look too good walking out of here.
On if he had any issue with the hit on Jarvis: I haven’t even looked at it. But everyone didn’t say anything to me. Normally how we do it is the video guy is in there telling me if it’s a good call or not. They didn’t say anything. So, I haven’t looked at it.
On it just coming down to an inability to score goals: Yeah, that’s a good point. I’m glad you brought it up. That’s really what happened here. It wasn’t a lack of offense. It was a lack of scoring, but usually it’s lack of scoring because you don’t get chances or opportunities. That’s really not what this was. You have to work hard to get your chances, and I think we did that. I don’t think we gave up a ton. Tonight we did towards the end because we were opening up, but that’s why I’m saying I’m proud of the group. They played hard and did it the right way, but they’ve got some talent over there. They played their identity. I give them a ton of credit. They cashed in on their power plays, and when they broke down they knew they had a goalie back there who made some great saves. It’ll be an interesting series for them. I think they are very similar teams in a lot of ways. We’ll see how that goes. But it’s a tough way to end. It’s always disappointing to lose and be done. But I’m super proud of the steps we took this year and the group in general.
On if they have to take a step back and reevaluate if some of these forwards are as good as they think they are: I always think they’re good, it’s just do we have elite goal scorers? Maybe not. But we have great players. We’re built a little differently than some teams. You’ve got to play to your strengths. I think we did that, but it just didn’t work out. Going into tonight there were five teams left playing. That says something. We’ve got to come back next year and be better.
On this being the last game with this group: Yeah, we said that last year and we had nine new guys. You never know how it’s going to work out. Hockey is a business and guys have to do what they have to do. We would love to keep all of these guys and come right back at it, but that’s probably not going to happen. That’s just the way it goes.
On the team not getting to its game this series and on getting past this level: I think there were bits of our game in each game. I thought at times we were all over them, and that’s our game; smothering teams and working them down low. We definitely had bits and pieces of that, but I think what it came down to is that we’ve got to score more goals. On the power play, 5-on-5, whatever it is, we’ve got to be able to put pucks in the back of the net. To get past this at this point and get over the hump, when you look back at all the years I think special teams is what it’s always come down to. We lose the special teams battle. We’ve got to be winning those, especially this time of year.
On the difference between the regular season and postseason on the penalty kill: It’s tough. Everyone is better in the playoffs, so we’ve got to elevate our game. Especially on the PK side. We’ve got to be able to stay out of the box, too. We give chances and chances and chances on the power play with their best players playing at their best, things are bound to happen. One, we’ve got to stay out of the box, but two, we’ve got to be able to elevate our game to that level.
On the disappointment level giving the season they had and the expectations: It’s definitely a bummer. We’ve got a great group of guys in there. There wasn’t a lack of effort. It’s never been a lack of effort. Night in and night out, we’re always working hard. All season long guys worked hard. It’s frustrating. It’s definitely a bummer to have the caliber of team that we did and not go farther.
On the sting of knowing they didn’t get where they wanted to go: Like I just said, it’s a huge bummer. The group of guys that we had in there was awesome. The coaching staff has done a great job of getting high-quality hockey players and high-quality people as well. It’s a bummer. We’ll see how things shake out in the offseason. It’s a bummer to see guys go because we had such a tight-knit group.
On the hit and injury to Seth Jarvis and on how it changed the dynamic: He’s a warrior. He might be on the smaller side, but he’s feisty and has got a lot of heart. He’s a big component of our offense. It’s always tough to see someone go down like that, but especially someone who has been competitive all year and all playoffs. It shouldn’t change the outcome of the game.
On if the lack of scoring was bad bounces and missed opportunities or more the top guys needing to step up: I think maybe a combination of all of it. Look who was in the crease for them. He played unbelievable all series. Tonight he had big save after big save there when we were trying to come back. He’s a great goaltender. I think it’s a combination of everything. A lot of our game is just throwing pucks at the net, and sometimes they bounce right on your stick and sometimes they don’t. It’s definitely hard, but all of it combined and people have to step up. Myself included. We need big-time players to come up big time.
On if it’s tougher this year because they were more experienced and expected to win more: Yeah, I think so. Look at years previous and the teams we lost to. Props to them they played a great series, but at the end of the day, yeah.
On the number one thing they could have done better Monday night: I mean, it was a lot of things. We got beat tonight. I don’t know. We couldn’t quite solve them early. Being down 2-0, the PK has got to be better obviously. We were chasing again, and chasing is not easy.
On what was different on special teams in the postseason: No, we definitely weren’t trying to change anything. We were trying to do what we do best. They made some good plays on the power play. They have a very good power play. But the PK was solid all year, and it obviously has to continue if you want to win games in the playoffs. Same thing with our power play. It was solid all year, but it obviously had to be better as well. Our 5-on-5 game was there.
On if this one stings a little more because they felt like the more experienced and favored team: In a seven-game series, you would think the right team wins. Like I said, our 5-on-5 play was there. I feel like we can play with anyone in the league and dominate. We found a way to beat ourselves with a few different plays in a couple different games. That was it, I guess.
On what he’ll remember most about this season: The season itself was fun. Guys bought in. It was a great room, fun to be a part of and fun to lead. Beating Boston was a great feeling and great playoff start. We were right there with these guys. Having game seven, and obviously we’re on the wrong side this time, but did we want to get to game seven? No. We had a great start to the series, and we needed to find a way to sneak one on the road. Which we didn’t. Tonight was some bounces and everyone wasn’t quite there, including myself. Unfortunate way to end the season.
On the hit and injury to Jarvis and on how hard it is to shake that off that early in the game as a team: That wasn’t fun to watch, obviously. Jarvis is going to be a really good player. Really good player. It was hard, obviously, seeing him go out. He’s not shy to go into the dirty areas. He wins battles and does all the right things. He’s just smart. It’s unfortunate to see what happened tonight, but man is he a good player.
On if Monday was a missed opportunity or did they miss opportunities earlier in the series that could have not left them to game seven: I mean, obviously if we win on the road one win there would help us big time, right? Game six was an elimination game. Even games three or four. Get one of those and it’s a completely different story. We had our chance tonight, and we didn’t use it. So, yeah. It really doesn’t matter what happened in the past. It’s about the present moment, and obviously we couldn’t win a hockey game tonight. So, that’ll do it for us.
On what sticks out that they could have done better: I’m sure I could give you a little bit better answer in a day or two, but special teams maybe? It’s tough to tell you right now. We just lost the game.
On having to shake off that early hit and injury to Jarvis as a team: It sucks to see a guy go down, and I really hope he’s ok. I haven’t seen him since. Hopefully he is doing fine. He’s a great player. Obviously he’s been big time for us all year. We definitely missed him a little bit there, but another guy has to step up and do it as a group. You have to leave it all on the ice. I’m not saying that was the reason we lost the game, but it makes things difficult.
On if Igor Shesterkin was that good or was the lack of scoring things the Canes didn’t do: I mean, you’ve got to give him credit. He’s a great goalie. He made some big-time saves. As a forward, you’ve got to find a way. The way I see it, I’m always trying to figure out how to score more or create chances to cash in. There were some moments where a goal would have definitely helped bring us some momentum in the games. At the same time, he’s a great goalie and made big-time saves. We’ve got to think that we weren’t good enough.
On not getting as far as they wanted to with this group: Great group. Very tight. We had a lot of fun together. Every day was awesome to come to the rink with this group. It sucks, obviously, every time you are done and you know it’s not going to be the same guys. It’s part of hockey. Life goes on.