In just two games back, Antti Raanta has proven his mettle as the Hurricane’s best goaltender. If he is not the game-one starter in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Carolina might as well just trade him, because they do not deserve him. If he can stay healthy, it would behoove the Hurricanes to start Raanta as often as possible, and potentially call Pyotr Kochetkov back from the Chicago Wolves.
Carolina has proven the old adage “the best offense is a good defense.” By both the Canes offense and defense continuing to keep the game in their hands, and away from the other team, by shooting they are taking the lion’s share of the defense away from their goaltenders. As you will see the Hurricanes do shoot more with Antti Raanta in the net, but Raanta faces more shots than Andersen.
SOG For Andersen’s Last 5
CAR: 30 NYR:16
CAR: 37 BOS: 38
CAR: 32 DET: 22
CAR: 35 NYI: 22
In the last five of Andersen’s starts, the Hurricanes have outshot the other team 134 to 98. Still, Frederik Andersen has proven he cannot adequately fill the role of occasional back stopper At least when the Hurricanes need him to do so most as he has let 10 of those 98 past him. Sure, he can make the big stop for drama’s sake but the basic one-timers and cans of corn are just going to get by him (ie Detroit).
Yet many Canes fans wonder why the goals are not just rolling in. I argue it comes from the added pressure of playing behind or tied while Andersen is in the net. Before Carolina’s 2-1 over the Wild Card contending New York Islander, Andersen had given up goals in all but 2 of his previous 9 periods. One of those 2 was nulled because the Canes were already down in the game and went on to lose. He did have two scoreless periods against the Islanders, but in one of those the Hurricanes had to come back from being behind to tie.
SOG For Raanta Last 5
CAR: 41 MTL: 22
CAR: 30 OTT: 32
CAR: 48 ARI: 18
CAR: 50 MTL: 14
CAR: 37 OTT: 28
Antti Raanta on the other hand has proven time and again that he will stop anything shot at him.
With the same amount of offensive support from the Hurricanes as well. Carolina has also outshot their opponents 206 to 114, but they have provided Antti Raanta with more goal support scoring 17 to 9 for Andersen. The key difference here is the Canes are not continually having to play behind or tied while Raanta is on the ice. In his last 5 games, Raanta has only let the Canes be tied or behind at the end of a period twice as compared to Andersen’s 12. Consistently keeping the puck out of the net, Raanta is contributing in his own way to the offense’s scoring by relieving the pressure of playing down or tied.
Outshooting their opponents leads the Carolina Hurricanes to control the game and all but take the heavy lifting off their goaltenders. Canes goal scorers have given Antti Raanta and Frederik Andersen ample goal support and puck possession (as seen in their SOG totals). Still the results are markedly different between the two. Antti Raanta has not lost a game in regulation since November while Andersen has lost his last three, and one in overtime. It should be clear that Antti Raanta is the game-one starter for the Hurricanes. His ability to make both the big play and the routine keeps Carolina from feeling the added pressure of being behind or tied. Plus, he is winning, whereas Andersen cannot seem to stop a beach ball with a sheet of plywood with money set aside to buy a win in his back pocket.