Bonino on how it feels to be back
Aw, it felt great. I've been practicing for a couple weeks, and I knew I was getting closer to being ready to play. And they cleared me for this weekend, and they knew it was the minimum for this weekend, so just to go one. And it felt good. It felt good to be back in the locker room with the guys and getting prepared for the game on gameday instead of not getting prepared and not playing. So, it felt great to get back in the lineup and great to get a win.
Connolly on what clicked on the first line
Nick and I had played together a little bit last year and the start of this year. I knew Nick was going to be excited to play, and Joe brings a lot of energy to our line, works hard, frees up a lot of open space. And we just wanted to create opportunities, keep it down in their zone, and we were fortunate enough to be on the winning side of that.
Shattenkirk on what changed in 5-on-5 play
If you look back at the last couple games, we've had plenty of shots. There really wasn't a lot of traffic, and we were making it pretty easy for the goalie. Everyone just got a lot of traffic to the net, and we kind of surprised him on a few shots. It's just a matter of time before they started to fall because we were really pressing a lot of teams. It just wasn't bouncing for us.
Shattenkirk on why Merrimack was able to get back in it in the second
I think it's tough to play when you're up four goals. I think that's our fault, maybe getting a little too loose in the locker room. I think that's something we definitely need to work on. The last game, it was kind of the same thing. We went into the locker room with a 1-1 tie, and came out and Merrimack really took it to us. I think it's just a matter of playing a full 60 minutes and realizing that any team can really step it up no matter what the lead is.
Shattenkirk on whether or not the team's surprised by its bad start
I wouldn't say it's surprised us. It's definitely gotten to us a little bit. Coach has been stressing a lot that we need to believe in our talent and our skill. I think that's kind of what we focused on tonight, was really just knowing that we can be a great hockey team. I think it showed at certain points in the game.
Bonino on whether or not he felt like he was back in game shape
It felt good. It's tough to get the timing back. There's plays when I would lose my guy for a second and have to go get him, but hopefully that will come back to me next weekend and in these practices. After not doing any contact all week, and then doing a little bit Thursday, and then having to cover a man and body somebody, so it felt good. Buddy Powers skated me a lot after practice this week, and that helped me, so it felt good.
Connolly on whether or not getting Bonino and Rollheiser back lifted some spirits
Yeah, definitely. We've been on the wrong side of injuries for the beginning of the season, losing Nick, Dave's been in-and-out, Rollie's been hurt the entire season. We're just starting to get those guys healthy, and they all bring a lot to the team. Just the mental side of it, knowing we get those players back in our lineup, we know it's going to bring a lot and obviously it helped us win tonight.
Shattenkirk on whether or not the win changed the team's mindset
Absolutely. I think this was big for us tonight, just keeping our team morale up and guys are happy. And I really think we need to remember this feeling and remember what it takes to really get a win because it's hard, but at the same time it's great.
Connolly on the mindset of the team coming in after four straight losses
We came off of three one-goal losses, so it's kind of tough to deal with when you're working hard, outshooting teams a lot. You know you're getting chances and you just end up on the losing end. What we wanted to keep stressing is we've gotta keep at it, working hard. The only thing we can control is our effort. And if we go out there and keep doing the same things we're doing, and Coach emphasizes not beating ourselves by taking stupid penalties, and just staying after it, things like these are going to start going our way.
Bonino on the team's mindset after taking a 4-0 lead
We were on a high. We try to stay even keel, not too high, not too low, but I think we were pretty excited after struggling to score all year, and it kind of came together in the first period. So, that was difficult. It wasn't too bad in the locker room. Guys were focused for the most part. When we came out, I think we just got a little jumpy with the puck. We were up and we didn't want to blow the lead, and they got a couple. But we just got a little too comfortable there, and we just had to take a step back. Coach called a timeout and we were able to come back and battle after that I think.
Connolly on whether or not he's starting to get some confidence after scoring a few goals
Yeah. The weight's off my shoulders now, so hopefully they'll just keep coming. I knew that pass was coming from Nick, just had to wait the defenseman out. So, I was getting ready to shoot the puck and I had an open net. I told myself, 'If I miss that, I may as well just leave the ice and go get undressed.'
Shattenkirk on the play of Rollheiser
It was great. I know the last couple weeks, he's been really fighting that injury, and it's a tough injury to come back from for a goalie. I think he competed tonight. Whenever a goalie plays like that, it really just gives the defensemen confidence. He made some big saves for us down the stretch. I think it will be good for Kieran. It allows Coach to go back and forth with them and get that competition like they had last year at the beginning of the season, really fighting for the job.