The daily “NHL Soundbites” column is your go-to for the top quotes from every game in the NHL. 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. 13, 2022:
Ottawa Senators @ Washington Capitals
Final Score: Senators 4-1 Capitals
After being shutout two games in a row, the Senators walked away with a win, defeating the Capitals, 4-1, on Sunday. Ottawa’s victory follows a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Senators forward Brady Tkachuk: “Everybody stepped up and elevated their game. Obviously, we weren’t happy with bits and pieces of our last two games. Everybody gave a gutsy effort tonight, so we’re really happy with the outcome. It was fun out there.”
The Capitals’ recent struggles continue with its loss to the Senators on Sunday. Washington is now 4-6-0 in its last 10 games and needs to improve in some areas on the ice that it was finding success before.
Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom: “Last couple weeks here we haven’t played with that flow that we did earlier, like the mojo like we used to have here. I feel like we are putting ourselves in bad spots, D-zone, neutral zone, we are not creating as much as we should. I just think that everything needs to be better.”
Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens
Final Score: Sabres 5-3 Canadiens
The Sabres ended a three-game winless skid with a 5-3 victory over the Canadiens on Sunday. Buffalo forward Jeff Skinner stole the show, tallying four goals and an assist to lead his team back into the win column.
Sabres head coach Don Granato: “[Skinner]’s deserved more goals than he has this year, which is awesome. He’s starting to score, he’s got his scoring touch back, he’s got his confidence back. He actually has earned the right for more multigoal games that he hasn’t been rewarded for because he’s been around the net so much.”
The Canadiens are winless in its last 10 games following Sunday’s loss. Montreal hired new head coach Martin St. Louis last week, but are still awaiting its first win with him behind the bench.
Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki: “He’s been bringing new ideas, I’m not going to name them, but I think we’ve been doing a good job of trying to apply it… As a team we’ve been better, we’ve worked hard, just the results haven’t been there.”
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New Jersey Devils
Final Score: Penguins 4-2 Devils
The Penguins put together a solid performance, taking down the Devils, 4-2, on Sunday. The victory extends Pittsburgh’s winning streak to three games in a row.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan: “We’re trying to play the game that gives us the best chance to win, and our players have a real good understanding of what that looks like. When we’re on the same page from a collective effort standpoint, I think we’re a team that that plays a stingy game. We do it differently than a lot of teams. We’re not a team that sits back and just defends. I think our best defense takes place 150, 160 feet from our net, just with our puck possession game or our pursuit game, using our quickness, our stick skills.”
The Devils’ offense was simmered on Sunday after it posted 14 goals in its past two games, both wins. While New Jersey wasn’t dominated in the game by any means, there was room for improvement.
Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler: “I feel like sometimes we didn’t make the right decision for the right play. Overall it was a good game, but just little details that you probably get out of the zone and stuff like that, we could have done better.”
Colorado Avalanche @ Dallas Stars
Final Score: Avalanche 4-0 Stars
The Avalanche extend its point streak to 19 games with a 4-0 win over the Stars on Sunday. Colorado is practically unstoppable right now, with the best record in the NHL at 34-8-4, and going 9-0-1 in its last 10 games.
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon: “I think with our forecheck, we were in their end a lot. I think when they got the puck it was more at the end of their shifts, and they didn’t have a ton of energy just from us hemming them in. As well as our amazing [defensemen] moving the puck out quick, they make it easy.”
The Stars couldn’t keep up with the pace of the Avalanche’s play on Sunday. The loss puts an end to its two-game win streak and gives it a sneak peek of its next matchup, with a rematch scheduled in Colorado on Tuesday.
Stars head coach Rick Bowness: “Where’s our swagger? It wasn’t there. It was there sporadically in the second, but it certainly wasn’t there in the third. That has to come from within. When you get 20 guys playing with an aggressive mindset, we’re a good hockey club. When we have 20 guys who aren’t aggressive and on the same wavelength, we’re not.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.