Antti Raanta comes through big time
When Carolina changed their goaltending tandem in the summer, it raised a lot of questions among outsiders, but a lot of the Canes faithful understood it. Now, the people who knew what was going on and trusted this front office are looking like geniuses. With their starter looking like an early Vezina candidate, it was the backup’s turn tonight to show his stuff on the big stage.
Las Vegas saw a dazzling display of netminding from Antti Raanta. It was not a tasking time, but Raanta came through with some big saves when the Hurricanes needed him to be there. Time and again, he turned away Vegas attackers, and he was not at fault for either of the two goals that they conceded. Raanta stifled the Vegas attackers all night when they finally start to get through to him.
Making 21 saves, he only saw 23 shots. That’s due to a great team performance in front of him as the Canes amassed 42 as they laid siege to Vegas. When the Canes solid rear-guard was broken, Raanta was there to hold the fort until his defenders got back to him. Except for the second goal, where Raanta was asked to make save after save as the defenders kinda did nothing around him.
When people look at this game, it didn’t have the makings of a goaltender standing on his head to keep a team in it. But a lesser goalie would have allowed a lot more goals than Raanta did tonight and the coaching staff was proven right to give the nod to the veteran Finnish netminder. Giving extra rest to the starter is always a good thing, and this fantastic performance inspired more confidence in the backup.