Carolina’s first key to beating a fantastic opponent like New York will be stable protection in the crease. With the Hurricanes having two new netminders, tonight will be a great chance for Frederik Andersen to prove himself to the Caniacs across the world. There’s already a lot of questions being asked about him as a number one going forward.
Freddie was not re-signed by Toronto after an injury-riddled year with the Maple Leafs. He has taken a pay cut from what he was making in Toronto to sign in Carolina and will be given a chance to prove that the Toronto Maple Leafs were wrong to discard him. We all know the talent Andersen has, he’s shown it against the Hurricanes on many occasions.
Andersen will be asked to stop the Islanders’ top six. A very talented team, the Islanders boast a strong forward core and they will be sure to generate chances. Carolina’s defensive unit will need to come up big, but Andersen has to be prepared to clean up the pieces that defensemen cannot handle. With so many great players on the Islanders, this is a very difficult task for both Andersen and the defenders.
We know that Andersen’s calming presence is always there and behind the Carolina backend. However, tonight is slightly different. Andersen is going to be asked to stop shots in a competitive game at PNC Arena in front of a raging crowd. That’s a difficult task for any netminder. Shaking off the nerves and rust is going to be vital for Andersen and very important for the Hurricanes.
If Freddie cannot hold the fort and Carolina are down early, then we will likely see Andersen pulled and get a glimpse of Antti Raanta. Raanta’s issue has always been his health, when he is in the net, he’s very capable of stopping pucks and making big saves. There’s a very capable tandem in Carolina this season, but seeing Raanta tonight would be a really bad sign going forward.