The Carolina Hurricanes keep plugging along even as their goaltending situation tends to be a moving target.
Now with Frederik Andersen suffering an upper-body injury, another chapter at the goalie position is sure to unfold Friday night when the Hurricanes host the San Jose Sharks in Raleigh, N.C.
Andersen suffered the upper-body injury Wednesday night in Dallas, so Antti Raanta was summoned to finish what became a 3-2 overtime victory. Raanta, Andersen and Pyotr Kochetkov have spent time in and out of the lineup with physical issues, keeping the Hurricanes from establishing a regular rotation.
Just last week, with Raanta and Andersen deemed healthy, Kochetkov was sent to the AHL after he had plugged in for Raanta (lower-body injury) for much of December and was named NHL rookie of the month.
“You try to work every day in practice to make sure that whenever your turn is that you’re ready to go,” said Raanta, who stopped all 15 Stars shots he faced.
“A few more (games) before the (All-Star) break, so let’s start focusing on Friday’s game.”
The Hurricanes have won three games in a row as they move into a three-game homestand. The Metropolitan Division leaders hold a six-game points streak.
The Sharks continue to sit near the bottom of the Pacific Division, 0-2-1 on a road trip that still has a stop in Pittsburgh on Saturday before they get a nine-day break in the schedule, partially owing to the NHL All-Star Break.
Tuesday night’s 3-2 overtime loss at Detroit moved San Jose to 2-5-3 across its past 10 games.
“I thought there was a lot more honesty in our game,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “A lot more pace, a lot more compete in our game. Just disappointed in the ending.”
Quinn said he was impressed with goalie James Reimer’s outing against the Red Wings. Reimer is a former Carolina netminder.
While the Sharks have come up short across the board, overtime sessions have been a drag on the team as well.
“Anybody we put out there lately, it has been a struggle for us,” Quinn said of the overtime periods.
Even at 9-13-3 on the road, the Sharks hold a better road mark than at home (5-12-7).
The Hurricanes, meantime, beat Dallas in overtime for the second time this season, this one on Martin Necas’ game-winner.
Carolina center Sebastian Aho scored his 200th career goal Wednesday night, becoming the sixth player in franchise history and the third player from the 2015 NHL Draft to reach the milestone.
It was another sign that Aho is back in a groove after missing time with an injury last month.
“I think he looks like he did before he went out,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “When you’re out for a while and not really skating, it takes time to get that back.”
Aho’s tally was his 16th career short-handed goal, tying the franchise record.
“He’s dynamic in open ice and he can really read the play,” Brind’Amour said. “He has had a ton of chances short-handed. He’s a weapon there.”
Aside from goaltending, the Hurricanes have other topics of concern on the defensive side. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin has missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury.
The last time the Hurricanes met the Sharks, back on Oct. 14, Carolina won 2-1 at San Jose with Raanta picking up the victory.
–Field Level Media