The Carolina Hurricanes are one of four teams that can book their ticket to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win on Friday night — and coach Rod Brind’Amour is considering replacing Antti Raanta with Frederik Andersen against the New York Islanders.
“Earlier there was no chance and now he’s definitely right there,” Brind’Amour said before Carolina flew to New York on Thursday, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti.
Andersen has been dealing with an illness and undisclosed injury that prevented him from dressing as the team’s backup for most of the series, but the Canes coach confirmed that he is 100 percent healthy heading into Friday’s tilt.
The Hurricanes have an opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinal with a win at UBS Arena on Friday night, and after Raanta gave up three goals in 22 shots in a 3-2 loss in Game 5 on Tuesday, it could be Andersen’s net again.
“I’m just excited to be on the ice,” the 33-year-old said ahead of a crucial Game 6. “I haven’t played in the playoffs in a while, so of course, if called upon I would be excited to play. But yeah, it’s up to the coaching staff. I’m back right now. I’m just happy to be a part of the team and not sitting up top like last year as much. And yeah, I feel good to go.”
Andersen hasn’t played in a postseason game since backstopping the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2020 playoffs. He had a torn MCL which kept him out of the playoffs last season, and has struggled with injury over the past few seasons.
The Swedish netminder was 21-11-1 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .903 save percentage over 34 regular-season games. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him back in between the pipes after he started most of the games he was healthy for during the 2022-23 season.
Although Antti Raanta has played well in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, stopping 126 of 139 shots in five games, it looks like coach Rod Brind’Amour will go back to Frederik Andersen with an opportunity to send the Islanders packing on Friday night.
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