5 Carolina Hurricanes players who must bring their A-Game to claim the lead in the Metropolitan

The Carolina Hurricanes are just a few points behind the New York Rangers, and a big month of February can push them closer to the division lead.

Feb 6, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) celebrates
Feb 6, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) celebrates / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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Pyotr Kochetkov must prove he’s the go-to at goaltender

If there is a weakness on this Carolina Hurricanes team, it’s at goaltender, and neither Antti Raanta nor Pyotr Kochetkov have separated themselves as the true No. 1 goaltender, or at least as a clear-cut 1A. However, at 24, Kochetkov has a much better chance of being the future than the 34-year-old Raanta, so while the opportunity rests with both in terms of this season, Kochetkov has much more to play for. 

Given the current race the Hurricanes find themselves in, Kochetkov couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. It’s not that his numbers have been pedestrian, but right now, he hasn’t played like a goaltender a perennial playoff contender should exclusively trust between the pipes. However, that can change with a sensational run in February and down the stretch. 

His GAA is a healthy 2.60, but he’s also only facing an average of 23.25 shots on goal per game, which inflates that number. His meager 0.898 save percentage tells a better story, meaning he’s experiencing a rather up-and-down season instead of clear-cut consistency. 

With a quality starts percentage of 0.545, however, Kochetkov is ironically showing us that when he’s on, few NHL goaltenders are tougher to beat. It’s also worth noting he has five shutouts over the past season-and-a-half, so it’s all about getting consistent.