Kochetkov has the belief of his teammates, belief in himself, and the hot hand
Despite playing only three games at the NHL level. Kochetkov has already earned the belief of his teammates. And he has the confidence in himself to be an elite goaltender.
After a win against the Islanders on April 24th, Jordan Staal talked about how well Kochetkov has played for the Hurricanes.
"The kid (Kochetkov) looks great. He’s played really well for us, right from the start. -Jordan Staal"
Even with a lack of NHL experience, Kochetkov has played 49 games in the KHL with solid results. And after signing an entry-level contract with the Hurricanes. He started for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL and played at an unbelievable level. Winning 13 of his 15 starts and posting a .921 save percentage alongside a GAA of 2.09.
And in those three NHL games, Kochetkov has won all three, including a win to clinch the division title against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.
He has been on fire in every league he has played in this year. And he has the talent to continue to play at this level over a long playoff run. Even without much NHL experience, Kochetkov has proven that he can carry the load in consecutive games.
At the end of the day, Raanta will likely win at least one game in the first three against Boston if needed, and he is capable of winning all three. But with a recent injury scare against the Islanders a week ago, it is uncertain if he is up to speed for game 1 Monday night against Boston.
On the other side of the coin, Kochetkov has the belief of the team and in himself to win games. As well as the terrific run of play over the past year. The team’s confidence in its goaltender plays a big role in the momentum of a club once the playoffs begin. And a hot goaltender can carry a team far in the playoffs.
Whether it is Raanta or Kochetkov in the net to begin the series, Carolina will have a good chance to get off to the right start against Boston.
And if the Hurricanes move onto the 2nd round, Vezina trophy candidate Frederik Andersen will be healthy and ready to carry the load for the rest of the postseason.