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Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils Series Preview: Goaltending

The Carolina Hurricanes are facing the same issue they had before round one, however, this time it’s a much more positive vibe.

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils will be facing off in the second round, with each having utilized two goaltenders in the first round. Now, Carolina’s usage of two netminders came with a lot more positive results than New Jersey did.

Frederik Andersen came into Game 6 in order to give Antti Raanta some rest but also to try and get himself going and came up with a big series clinching win. On the other side, Vitek Vanecek was yanked after two games against the New York Rangers where he struggled, and in came rookie Akira Schmid to the rescue.

Hurricanes fans more than anyone should know how hot a rookie goalie can be when coming in relief for the presumed starter and getting into a rhythm...

*cough* Cam Ward 2006 *cough*

But both teams have netminders they can turn to should things not turn out they way they expect in the first few games.

So let’s take a look at each netminder and familiarize ourselves with them just a little before puck drop:

Regular Season Stats

Goaltender Record Save Percentage GAA GSAx PK Sv%
Goaltender Record Save Percentage GAA GSAx PK Sv%
Frederik Andersen 21-11-1 0.903 (33rd) 2.48 (12th) -3.5 (78th) 0.873 (27th)
Antti Raanta 19-3-3 0.910 (23rd) 2.23 (4th) 1.3 (44th) 0.858 (42nd)
Akira Schmid 14-9-5 0.922 (5th) 2.13 (3rd) 8.2 (18th) 0.855 (46th)
Vitek Vanecek 33-11-4 0.911 (22nd) 2.45 (10th) 5.1 (26th) 0.892 (11th)

Playoff Stats

Goaltender Record Save Percentage GAA GSAx PK Sv%
Goaltender Record Save Percentage GAA GSAx PK Sv%
Frederik Andersen 1-0-0 0.971 (1st) 0.91 (1st) 1.8 (9th) 1.00 (1st)
Antti Raanta 3-2-0 0.906 (11th) 2.59 (9th) 0.4 (13th) 0.938 (5th)
Akira Schmid 4-1-0 0.951 (3rd) 1.38 (3rd) 4.6 (2nd) 0.957 (3rd)
Vitek Vanecek 0-2-0 0.827 (21st) 4.43 (23rd) -2.4 (21st) 0.714 (21st)

Antti Raanta

Father Finn may very well get the call for Game 1 after some added rest, but head coach Rod Brind’Amour is keeping his cards close to his chest for now.

Raanta backstopped the Hurricanes to three of their four first-round series against the New York Islanders and was fairly strong in most of his starts. He’s lost just a single game in regulation at PNC Arena this season — a 3-2 loss in Game 5 — and has been all Carolina’s could ask for.

He deserves another start and that very well may come here soon.

Raanta is 1-0-0 against the Devils this season, with a 0.857 save percentage and 3.69 GAA in a shootout win back in January.

Frederik Andersen

While the Danish netminder struggled in the regular season, he put his name back on the radar with a stellar Game 6 performance to eliminate the Isles.

He was seeing the puck well and getting timely saves and freezes to keep his team in the battle and ultimately put them in the position to win it in overtime.

If he doesn’t go for Game 1, he’s still a solid option should the Canes find themselves in an early hole.

Andersen did not play against New Jersey this season.

Akira Schmid

The Swiss rookie resuscitated the Devils’ playoff hopes after a rocky start to the postseason for Vitek Vanecek.

Entering the Rangers series for Game 3, Schmid immediately put up a ridiculous 0.972 save percentage to start the rally and followed that up with a 0.957 performance and then a shutout.

He’s been everything New Jersey could have asked for in round one and could potentially be quite a challenge for Carolina in round two.

He’s a big body — 6’5” — and incredibly calm in net, being able to move well within the crease and take up a lot of the net space.

There is also the factor of the unknown as Carolina has never faced Schmid before, and like I said before, something about rookies on a roll come playoff time...

Vitek Vanecek

If Carolina can get to Schmid, the Devils still have Vanecek in waiting, who was their go to starter throughout the regular season.

Vanecek was really good for New Jersey in the regular season but got dismantled by the Rangers in the first-round series.

If he has to draw in, there’s no telling where his confidence level would be at, but he was a solid goaltender throughout the season, including against the Canes.

Vanecek was 2-1-0 against the Hurricanes this year with a 0.918 save percentage and 2.25 GAA and one shutout.

The goaltending matchup is always going to be big, but it seems like it won’t be as crucial a factor as it was last round facing Ilya Sorokin — this round more so focused on how the Canes can limit New Jersey’s chances and offensive generation — but you never know how it goes at this time of the year.