There have been many conflicting reports over the past few days regarding the health of the Carolina Hurricanes’ goaltenders, and while there’s largely an optimistic tone around the health of their top netminders, it may not be all sunshine and roses just yet. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported today that the “current expectation” is that Frederik Andersen could miss the first few games of Carolina’s First Round series, which likely looks to be against the Boston Bruins. The report comes after sources suggested to The Athletic’s Sara Civian just yesterday that Andersen would be “good to go” for Game 1.
An undisclosed injury has sidelined Andersen since April 16, when he left the late third period of a game against the Colorado Avalanche. He’s run away with the starter’s crease in Carolina this season with a Vezina-consideration-worthy campaign, compiling 35 wins (7th in NHL), four shutouts (tied for 5th in NHL), a 2.17 goals-against average (2nd among qualified goalies), and .922 save percentage (tied for 3rd among qualified goalies).
With backup netminder Antti Raanta becoming injured a few days ago, it put Andersen’s potential return under the spotlight to shut down any goaltending issues for Carolina ahead of the playoffs. Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina’s 36th overall selection in 2019, entered the game in relief and started the team’s game the night prior as well. While he’s earned a victory in both games, he has just a .889 save percentage in his now 89 career minutes of NHL ice time.
Especially as the Bruins have caused Carolina fits during their last two playoff meetings, continued stellar goaltending will be essential for the Hurricanes to avoid an upset. They’re just 1-8 in their last nine playoff games against their most likely First Round opponent.