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Raanta proves prepared for prime function in Hurricanes’ playoff push


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Antti Raanta stayed prepared, even whereas spending most of a season backing up one of many NHL’s prime goalies. He’s essential now for the Carolina Hurricanes as they advance within the Stanley Cup playoffs. Pressed into obligation with No.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Antti Raanta stayed prepared, even whereas spending most of a season backing up one of many NHL’s prime goalies. He’s essential now for the Carolina Hurricanes as they advance within the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Pressed into obligation with No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen injured, Raanta was the defensive anchor for the Hurricanes’ first-round sequence with the Boston Bruins. He was robust once more in internet for Saturday’s clinching Game 7 victory, one other signal that the Hurricanes’ offseason guess on an overhaul on the place has paid off.

“When Freddy got hurt, it was kind of like, ‘OK, now it’s a chance for me to show what I can do in the big stages,’” Raanta mentioned after the 3-2 win. “Starting from Game 1, I think my game was pretty good.”

Raanta earned three of the 4 wins within the sequence – he exited Game 2 early after taking a blow to the top – whereas permitting 4 targets in these video games. He allowed two targets on 70 photographs within the Game 1 and 5 victories (.971 save share) then completed with 27 saves within the clinching win.

Not dangerous for a 33-year-old veteran who had by no means began a playoff recreation earlier than this sequence and had battled accidents in recent times. Raanta seems like Carolina’s go-to man in internet getting into a second-round sequence towards the Pittsburgh-New York Rangers winner.

“When we started this season, Freddy was unbelievable straight away and I was kind of fighting my way back to the game,” Raanta mentioned. “There were some ups and downs early on in the season. I think since the All-Star break, it started to feel like I was also contributing there. I think guys started to trust me also. I was able to show I can also do the job.”

The Hurricanes signed Andersen and Raanta final summer time. But an every-night function wasn’t the plan as Andersen took the lead and was among the many league leaders with 35 regular-season wins, a 2.17 goals-against common and a .922 save share.

Instead, Raanta had been the dependable No. 2 possibility, with the duo securing the William M. Jennings Trophy awarded to netminders on a staff that enable the fewest targets within the league in a minimal 25 video games of labor.

But his job description modified April 16, when Andersen went down in a loss at Colorado with a lower-body damage. Raanta needed to take over the lead function with rookie Pyotr Kochetkov because the backup possibility for a staff that was headed for the Metropolitan Division title.

Carolina wanted somebody prepared for the second. Raanta has been precisely that.

“When one of the best goalies in the league goes down in injury, obviously it’s going to sting a little bit,” Raanta mentioned. “Like we’ve been playing the whole year, the team in front of me is doing a great job. I just try to do my job and help the guys get the win.”

While Carolina’s aggressive forecheck can ease the burden on him, Raanta has give you key saves when wanted, too.

His greatest cease Saturday got here early with a full-split save to disclaim Taylor Hall close to the left submit on a 2-on-1 likelihood within the first interval of a scoreless recreation. It was a second that Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy got here again to nearly instantly in his postgame information convention.

“Big timely save by Raanta,” Cassidy mentioned. “If we bury that 2-on-1, things might change in a game like today when it’s hard to score.”

Andersen’s standing stays unclear going ahead. Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour has supplied few specifics on Andersen’s restoration past saying he’s working laborious to get again and would wish to follow with the staff to be able to return.

Raanta has proven the Hurricanes that they don’t should drive something. And he has an appreciation for this second in a difficult 12 months, significantly after dropping his father within the offseason.

That a lot was clear in Saturday’s postgame information convention, when his daughter Evelyn interrupted to present her dad an enormous hug. He helped her get positioned to sit down in his lap and share the expertise.

“No one at the start would’ve anticipated him being the guy and then step in in the biggest moments and be the guy,” Brind’Amour mentioned. “I’m proud of him and happy for him because he’s gone through so much.”

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Aaron Beard, The Associated Press





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