The daily “NHL Soundbites” column is your go-to for the top quotes from every postgame press conference in the NHL. Also, listen to THW contributors talk hockey every weekday on The Hockey Writers Podcast, available on iHeartRadio and wherever you listen to podcasts.
In this edition of NHL Soundbites, these are the top quotes from players and coaches following all games played on Feb. 10, 2022:
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Buffalo Sabres
Final Score (OT): Blue Jackets 4-3 Sabres
The Blue Jackets came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period, eventually defeating the Sabres, 4-3, in overtime on Thursday. Jakub Voracek sealed the win for Columbus, scoring just 16 seconds into overtime, marking his first goal since Nov. 13.
Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voracek: “It felt good because it was in overtime, it was the winning goal. I don’t put much pressure on myself if I don’t score for a while. I mean, I never had a scoring drought this long in my life (30 games), so it was kind of was like, ‘All right, as long as I play my game, you’re going to pick up either an assist on a winning goal or make a difference with something else.’ I’ve been in those struggles, goal-scoring droughts a lot of times, and I’m too old to get it in my head, so I would just say just do your job and everything’s going to come.”
The Sabres’ winless skid extends to three games with its overtime loss to the Blue Jackets. Buffalo appeared to be running away with the game when Alex Tuch put the Sabres up, 3-1, only 12 seconds into the second period, but the team failed to hold its lead.
Sabres head coach Don Granato: “It is a mental game. There’s no question. I mean, you just have to keep fighting through it. You just do. Your belief system has to maintain strength. This is what makes or breaks you, is how you deal with that psychologically… You’ve got to just move forward. It’s aggravating, it’s frustrating, but we need to make sure our belief system is strong so our passion and energy show on every shift.”
Carolina Hurricanes @ Boston Bruins
Final Score: Hurricanes 6-0 Bruins
The Hurricanes shut the Bruins out, 6-0, for a big win on Thursday, ending Carolina’s two-game winless skid. Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen stole the show, stopping all 34 shots he faced in the game for his second shutout of the season, both coming against the Bruins.
Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour: “The game could have been flipped (in the first four minutes). If they had got a power-play goal, the game could be way different, so that was a huge part of the game. [Andersen] was great and we were able to settle down and get playing.”
The Bruins played without star players Patrice Bergeron (upper-body injury) and Brad Marchand (suspended), which forced the remainder of the Boston lineup to try picking up the slack. Failing to score any goals in the game, the undermanned Bruins couldn’t get anything rolling on Thursday.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy: “There just was not enough pushback. So, how are we going to weather [their absences]? We’re certainly going to need a little more pushback from guys who are expected to bring it, and some other veteran guys that might not but have to step up in their absence. We were lacking both tonight in huge quantities.”
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
Final Score: Penguins 2-0 Senators
The Penguins move into second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Senators on Thursday. Pittsburgh’s Casey DeSmith recorded his second shutout of the season, and eighth in 69 career starts, turning aside all 26 shots he faced.
Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith: “It’s a full team game, and we played great tonight. I just happened to be behind everybody… I was fortunate to make some saves tonight. Everybody in front of me did the rest.”
The Senators struggled to keep up with the Penguins and were unable to find the back of the net on Thursday. Pittsburgh is the fifth-best team in the NHL in terms of points, while Ottawa is the fifth-worst.
Senators head coach D.J. Smith: “We just couldn’t generate enough. Give Pittsburgh credit. They were skating. They came to play today. That’s not the team we saw in Pittsburgh (a 6-4 Senators loss on Jan. 20). They checked. They gave you nothing. Those are tough games for young guys.”
Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens
Final Score: Capitals 5-2 Canadiens
The Capitals had a quick start in Montreal on Thursday, opening the scoring just 5:04 into the first period, which ultimately led to its takedown of the Canadiens, 5-2. The first tally of the game marked the first goal of Washington’s Joe Snively’s career, which he then followed up with another goal in the second period.
Capitals forward Joe Snively: “I thought we started off really well and I thought the opposition, with the new coach (Martin St. Louis), they were going to come out pretty hot and firing. But I thought we contained them pretty well and made the most of our chances.”
The Canadiens came up short but were resilient in their first game under new head coach Martin St. Louis. Montreal ranks 32nd in the NHL this season and looks to continue building confidence with a new leader in charge.
Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis: “I just love how we fought and I just felt we kept getting better as the game went [on], and that was fun to see… We didn’t cheat, you know, we just stayed the course, and I really feel the only thing we didn’t do tonight was win.”
New Jersey Devils @ St. Louis Blues
Final Score: Devils 7-4 Blues
The Devils trailed by a one-goal deficit after the second period on Thursday but came out flying in the third period with five goals to secure a big win, 7-4, over the Blues. New Jersey faced adversity in the game but stayed focused and got the job done.
Devils head coach Lindy Ruff: “A tremendous comeback. I thought the second period got away from us a little bit. We had a couple turnovers in the defensive zone that allowed them a couple opportunities, but after the second, we talked about the mistakes we made. We said, ‘We’ve got one shot to tie the game up.’ We played really well in the first period. We knew they’d make a push in the second, but I thought our guys responded really well in the third.”
The Blues, in their first game since, Jan. 29, were unable to keep up with the Devils on Thursday. St. Louis has lost back-to-back games but isn’t panicking too much as it still ranks 12th in the NHL standings and fourth in the Central Division.
Blues forward Brayden Schenn: “Obviously, not good enough start to finish tonight. It’s not a confidence issue, it’s not a hard-work issue. I think it’s maybe a little bit of a committing to the little details that maybe win you the game and just got to find a way to be better at that. Not be better, just be more consistent with it. Those are things we can clean up, and we will.”
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Calgary Flames
Final Score: Flames 5-2 Maple Leafs
The Flames continue the hottest streak in the NHL on Thursday, extending to five consecutive victories with a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Calgary put together a strong performance, which was led in part by goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopping 46 of 48 shots for a .958 save percentage (SV%).
Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin: “I think it was a good game. They have a really good team. They have a lot of skill. They definitely got some chances. [Markstrom] once again played great for us, made some big saves, but I thought we played a good game. I think we did some really good things.”
The Maple Leafs’ loss ends a six-game win streak that spanned from Jan. 22 to Feb. 10. Firing 48 shots on net, they only managed to score twice in the game.
Maple Leafs forward John Tavares: “It just shows you the growth we need to have if we want to be the team we want to be. Disappointing to be in control of a game like that. It’s disappointing, especially the way we were playing, doing a lot of good things. That’s what we have to overcome if we want to be the team we want to be.”
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Colorado Avalanche
Final Score: Avalanche 3-2 Lightning
The Avalanche came flying out of the gate on Thursday, scoring two goals by 6:16 of the first period in a 3-2 win over the Lightning. Tampa Bay came within one goal of tying the game twice, but Colorado never allowed that to happen.
Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog: “I felt like everybody was ready to go and we put 24 shots on them in the first period… just trying to feed off of that the whole game. Even halfway through the second when they started pushing, I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping it to the outside and pushing back.”
The Lightning found itself chasing the game all night, especially after getting dominated at the beginning of the first period. Although Tampa Bay trailed early, it ended up making a strong push for a comeback.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper: “I don’t think we’ve ever played any slower to start. We really fed into their game and sure enough they’re up 2-0 and that was the difference. We’re way better than that. The last 50 minutes we were fine. We should have come out a little better than we did.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.