Game On The Line: Save to Win Game

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Six
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Six / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

As we continue the series of choosing clutch players to be in the position to win a game for the Carolina Hurricanes. It is only natural that we focus on the goaltending position with the news of Frederik Andersen returning to practice and inching closer to getting back in the crease.

In every big hockey game, the position and person to ultimately decide the fate of the game is the goaltender. A hot goalkeeper can take a team to the Stanley Cup Finals, just see the Florida Panthers last season. To that point, you cannot win the Stanley Cup without solid goaltending. Not many games in the Finals are high-scoring shootouts.

The Canes have four viable options to play, when healthy. Andersen will join a healthy Pyotr Kochetkov and Spencer Martin. Antti Raanta is on the shelf now but should be back for the spring.

I think the loyalty to one goalie amongst Caniacs can vary but it is a passionate topic. Raanta and Andersen have done so much over the years and Kochetkov is the future, but the game is on the line, which one is the guy to take their game to the next level?

I am a big fan of Kochetkov and his skill, but when it comes down to winning a game, I prefer a veteran between the pipes. That is not to say that Kochetkov starting in the playoffs cannot get the job done, but I like a goalie that has been through some adversity at this level.

This is a guy who has played for three organizations one of them being the Toronto Maple Leafs. Being a Leafs goalkeeper is one of the more high-pressured positions in the league. Also, 62 games were played in the postseason with 32 victories.

A solid 2.44 GAA and .917 save percentage is no fluke for Andersen. He has played in some big games and has won some important postseason games for his team.

The most frustrating thing with Andersen is that in the same game, he can look unreal and then give up a soft goal. This is never a great characteristic of a goalie but he can undoubtedly shut down an opponent and single-handedly win games.

I put my trust in this game with the game on the line. No goalie is perfect but with the experience and resume of success, I give Andersen the nod in the crease of my club in a big moment.