Hurricanes’ Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta get real on future in Carolina

The Carolina Hurricanes had another excellent season in 2022-23 that ended in disappointment in the Eastern Conference Final — but it certainly wasn’t because of goaltending, and both Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta have made it clear they want to re-sign in Raleigh this offseason.

“Absolutely, I really like it here,” Andersen said about a possible return, just days after the Hurricanes were swept by the Florida Panthers. “I hope we can get something done. Anywhere from a year or more, I’m interested in. Definitely my priority is to be back here, but we will see where it goes. I think this run showed we have a lot of care in our culture here and the way we play for each other.”

“Being part of this team for two years now and seeing how close we got this year, that’s something you hope to be a part of,” Raanta echoed. “I felt good this year. I think I played pretty well. We’ll see what happens in the summertime. It’s something easier said than done.”

Both netminders are set to become unrestricted free agents on Jul. 1.

Both are big reasons why Carolina finished the season with 52 wins and 113 points, the second most in the National Hockey League behind the Boston Bruins.

Andersen went 21-11-1 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .903 save percentage in 34 regular-season games this season. The 33-year-old was 5-3 with a 1.83 GAA and .927 save percentage in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Meanwhile, Raanta was 19-3-3 with a 2.23 GAA and .910 save percentage in 27 regular-season games, and 3-3 with a 2.48 GAA and .909 save percentage in six playoff games.

The two have been an excellent combination between the pipes for the Hurricanes, winning the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2021-22 for allowing the fewest combined goals during the regular season.

Even with the great play of both Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, Carolina was swept by Florida and have lost an astounding 12 straight Eastern Conference Final games dating back to 2009.

They haven’t been able to get over the hump in a competitive Eastern Conference, but with an Andersen-Raanta duo coming back, they should be knocking on the door again next season.

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Shayne Gostisbehere’s beautiful message before free agency will hype up Hurricanes fans

The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night. And now many of the team’s upcoming free agents are left wondering what’s next as the summer approaches.

One of those pending free agents is defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. The 30-year-old blueliner came over in a midseason trade with the Arizona Coyotes to help bring an offensive touch from the point.

Gostisbehere’s performance did leave a bit to be desired. However, the veteran played a reliable role for Carolina as they marched to the Eastern Conference Finals. Whether it’s enough to keep him in a Canes uniform remains to be seen.

Gostisbehere, to his credit, wants to remain with the team. He mentioned the difference between his time in Carolina with his time in Arizona at the beginning of the year in Friday’s exit interviews.

“I was talking to my wife and I said it felt like we’ve been here longer than we were in Arizona this year. We got close to some guys in a short period of time,” Gostisbehere told the media on Friday, via Hurricanes reporter Walt Ruff.

Prior to joining Carolina, Gostisbehere certainly played a major role for the Coyotes. He scored 10 goals and 31 points in an Arizona sweater. With Carolina, the 30-year-old scored three goals and 10 points in 23 games.

His performances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs didn’t make him a star, however. Gostisbehere scored no goals in 15 games. Furthermore, he recorded just three assists. In fact, he had no points in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Gostisbehere provides value as an offensive-minded defenseman. And in a weaker free-agent market this summer, a team certainly will come calling. Only time will tell if an alluring payday is enough to coax him out of Carolina.

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Andrei Svechnikov gets painfully honest on watching Hurricanes from sidelines in playoffs amid knee recovery

The Carolina Hurricanes bowed out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, losing to the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. And if there’s one player who is the most frustrated with it all, it’s Andrei Svechnikov.

Svechnikov did not play at all during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He suffered a torn ACL back in March that required season-ending surgery. The 23-year-old scored 23 goals and 55 points prior to the injury.

The Hurricanes conducted their exit interviews on Friday, where Svechnikov had the chance to speak. He mentioned that his knee felt good. However, watching the playoffs wasn’t his thing. “Hated it. There’s nothing else to say. I hated it,” Svechnikov said, via Hurricanes reporter Walt Ruff.

“It was fun to watch when we were winning, but when we were losing it was tough because you want to get out there and help the boys,” the Hurricanes star continued in his exit interview.

Svechnikov mentioned that he is close to returning to the ice for the first time since his knee injury. In fact, he believes he can make that return sometime within the next month.

The Hurricanes star is in for the long haul with Carolina. He signed an eight-year extension worth $7.75 million in average annual value back in 2021. And he will be a major part of the Hurricanes moving forward.

Carolina dearly missed his playmaking and goal-scoring ability in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Florida Panthers. Whether the series would have gone the other way had he been on the ice is up for debate. What is certain, however, is that Svechnikov will be a welcomed addition once he does return to the team.

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Panthers’ Sam Bennett breaks silence on massive Jaccob Slavin hit in Game 4 vs Hurricanes

Florida Panthers star Sam Bennett made waves on social media on Wednesday for a huge hit he delivered to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin in Game 4. Thankfully, Slavin is okay, and the hit was considered clean.

In the moment, however, it was a bit scary. Bennett’s hit clearly shook Slavin, who did not return to Game 4 after taking the hit. As the Panthers prepare for the Stanley Cup Finals, Bennett took time to reflect on the incident.

“Obviously it’s unfortunate he was injured there. I hope he’s doing well,” Bennett told NHL insider Darren Dreger on The Ray & Dregs Hockey Podcast. “It was just one of those plays where the timing lined up perfectly for me and I was able to just go right through.”

The Panthers won Game 4, and as a result, booked their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1996. Bennett did not find his way onto the score sheet in the deciding game. However, he didn’t need to thanks to another clutch two-goal performance from Matthew Tkachuk.

The Hurricanes’ loss marked their 12th consecutive loss in Conference Finals games. During Carolina’s exit interviews on Friday, Slavin thanked those who checked in on him in the aftermath of the hit on Wednesday.

“All the prayers and texts I’ve been receiving have been super encouraging. I’m really thankful for the Raleigh community,” Slavin said, via Hurricanes reporter Walt Ruff.

While things looked scary on the ice, it is nice to see Slavin is doing well. Bennett clearly did not mean to injure the Hurricanes defenseman. Thankfully, nothing serious came out of this incident.

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3 reasons most to blame for Hurricanes’ Eastern Conference Final loss to Panthers

On Wednesday night, the Florida Panthers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes to complete a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final. All of the attention is on the Panthers and their remarkable run to the Stanley Cup Final, and rightfully so. That said, it’s also important to consider the Hurricanes’ side of this outcome.

If one didn’t watch this series, one would assume that Florida dominated Carolina solely based on the fact that it was a sweep. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This series was as close as a sweep possibly could be, and the Hurricanes easily could’ve won any of these games.

Even though Carolina can take pride in how they played, it doesn’t change the fact that its season is now over. With this sweep, the Hurricanes have now lost their last 12 Eastern Conference Final games; they were also swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and the Boston Bruins in 2019. Now the Hurricanes enter another offseason wondering how they can finally get over the playoff hump.

To answer those questions, they’ll have to figure out where things went wrong for them in this series. With that said, here are three reasons why the Hurricanes lost to the Panthers.

3. Injuries caught up with them

This one isn’t really something you can blame the Hurricanes for, but it definitely contributed to their downfall. The team already had some massive injuries coming into the series, with forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Max Paciorretty out for the season. Then in Game 4, it only got worse.

Less than two minutes into the game, defenseman Jaccob Slavin took a massive hit from Florida forward Sam Bennett that left him stumbling and knocked him out for the rest of the game. Not long after, forward Stefan Noesen left the game with an injury and didn’t return. Forward Martin Necas was also shaken up, although he would return not long after. And that’s all in Game 4, not even getting into any injuries that may have happened earlier in the series.

The Hurricanes’ depth has been their greatest strength in this contention window. They don’t have any true stars, but make up for it by confidently rolling four lines and three defensive pairings. That said, even a team as deep as Carolina has its limits, and the injuries were just too much to overcome this time.

2. High quantity, low quality of shots

This series is a prime example of why shots don’t always translate to good scoring chances. The Hurricanes outshot the Panthers 174-127 across the entire series, which may lead some to believe they dominated. However, the scoring chances tell a different story.

Yes, Carolina had more scoring chances than Florida, but not drastically so. Per Natural Stat Trick, the Hurricanes had 122 scoring chances in the series to the Panthers’ 106. And on those scoring chances, the Panthers actually outscored the Hurricanes with five goals to their four.

To be fair, those scoring chances do indicate that Carolina played well for the most part. However, the Hurricanes had to take advantage of those chances and failed to do so. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the one they’re living in after the series.

1. Couldn’t beat Sergei Bobrovsky

This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, but it’s just a different way of looking at it. Bobrovsky has been playing out of his mind these playoffs, saving an unbelievable 19.7 goals above expected. He led the Panthers’ comeback against the Bruins, stonewalled the Toronto Maple Leafs, and now frustrated the Hurricanes to no end.

Bobrovsky had the best playoff series of his career against Carolina, saving 168 of 174 shots for a .966 save percentage. He even had a stretch of over 200 minutes where he only allowed one goal on over 100 shots, spanning from the third period of Game 1 to the first period of Game 4. Even when the Hurricanes managed to break through the Panthers’ defense, Bobrovsky just said no.

It was easy to see that the Hurricanes were getting extremely frustrated at Bobrovsky’s heroics. There were points where they were just throwing everything at the net hoping something would slip through rather than try to set up better scoring chances. They also took some very undisciplined penalties as the frustration boiled over, mostly in the two games in Florida.

Running into a hot goalie is always frustrating, especially when the Hurricanes experienced much of the same story in their previous two playoff exits. However, their inability to break through Bobrovsky’s brick wall was still undeniably the biggest reason why they lost this series.

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Hurricanes players react to ‘confusing’ sweep at hands of Panthers

The Carolina Hurricanes entered the Eastern Conference Final with confidence that they could advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2006 — instead, they were swept by the Florida Panthers, losing 4-3 on Wednesday night at FLA Live Arena and 4-0 in the series.

The Hurricanes have now lost 12 straight Eastern Conference Final games, the latest defeat leaving many of the players numb after failing to win even a single game against the No. 8 seeded Panthers.

“It [stinks],” Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho said, per’s Tom Gulitti. “It’s almost a little confusing what happened. I don’t know.”

“We were right there,” Jordan Staal echoed, who lost to brothers Eric and Marc. “It didn’t feel like it was a 4-0 sweep series. That’s kind of their game, though. They definitely keep you to the outside and keep you from getting those second chances. Then, they make you pay going down the other way quickly and have got guys that can score goals and make you pay at the wrong time.”

Incredibly, Florida and Carolina were tied or separated by a single goal for all but 2:40 in the ECF, a stat that truly proves the series could have gone either way.

But it went the way of the Panthers in all four games, due largely to the brick wall that was Sergei Bobrovsky and three game-winning goals from superstar Matthew Tkachuk. He highlighted it by winning the series with just four seconds left in the third period of Game 4.

“That’s no excuse because we’re right there,” Carolina forward Jordan Martinook explained. “They swept us, but two overtime games, they score four seconds left and [Game 3] one goal when we were dominating. I don’t know what I feel right now. It doesn’t feel real.”

It’ll be back to the drawing board for the Hurricanes, who likely should have had at least one game go their way but instead find themselves unable to find any type of success in the Eastern Conference Final.

Carolina was swept by the Boston Bruins in 2019, swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, and now swept by the Florida Panthers in 2023.

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Vier Sekunden vor Schluss: Tkachuk macht den Panthers-Sweep perfekt

Die Florida Panthers haben es tatsächlich geschafft und stehen nach einem Sweep gegen die Carolina Hurricanes in den Stanley-Cup-Finals. Mann im Mittelpunkt war einmal mehr Matthew Tkachuk.

Die “Cats” sind nicht zu stoppen: Torschütze Matthew Tkachuk umjubelt von seinen Teamkollegen.


Die Florida Panthers stehen zum zweiten Mal in ihrer Geschichte in den Finals um den Stanley Cup. Gegen die Carolina Hurricanes holte das Team aus Sunrise nahe Miami durch ein 4:3 im vierten Spiel der Ost-Finalserie den vierten Sieg. Der unerwartete Sweep gegen die höher gehandelten “Canes” ist damit ebenso perfekt wie die Fortsetzung des Durchmarsches der lediglich als Nummer acht in die Play-offs eingezogenen Panthers.

Umjubelter Mann des Abends war Matthew Tkachuk, der 4,9 Sekunden vor Schluss eine Überzahlsituation mit einem Schlenzer an Gästetorwart Frederik Andersen – der Däne parierte insgesamt 24 Schüsse – vorbei zum Sieg nutzte. Es war Tkachuks zweiter Treffer in diesem Spiel nach dem ebenfalls in Überzahl erzielten 2:0. Der Left Wing und Filius der einstigen NHL-Größe Keith Tkachuk steht somit bei neun Torerfolgen in den laufenden Play-offs.

Zweiter Anlauf nach 1996

Wenige Augenblicke später war die Rückkehr in die Stanley-Cup-Finals nach 27 Jahren Wartezeit perfekt und die Party der “Cats” konnte starten. Den Hurricanes, die Moral zeigten und sowohl das 0:2 aufholten als auch in der 57. Minute durch Jesper Fast zum 3:3 ausglichen, blieb schlussendlich nur das beglückwünschende Handshake mit den siegreichen Hausherren.

Die Panthers waren bislang nur 1996 dabei. Wenige Jahre nach ihrer Gründung gab es damals vier Niederlagen gegen die Colorado Avalanche um Verteidiger Uwe Krupp, erster deutscher Stanley-Cup-Sieger. Dieses Mal trifft das Team von Headcoach Paul Maurice mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit auf die Oilers-Bezwinger aus Las Vegas. Die Golden Knights führen in den Finals der Western Conference 3:0 gegen die Dallas Stars und sind nur noch einen  Sieg vom Sweep entfernt.

Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin gives promising update after scary hit in Game 4

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin suffered a huge blow from Florida Panthers centre Sam Bennett at the start of their Game 4 elimination match and did not return, which set the tone for what ended up as the final game of their season.

Sam Bennett severely hit Jaccob Slavin 41 seconds into the match. The Hurricanes’ defenseman was in clear pain. He even fell over as he was making his way back to the bench. Slavin headed immediately to the tunnel due to the blow he endured. He only made it through because a trainer helped him skate on his way.

Jaccob Slavin said he was okay after the loss to the Panthers. He was seen eating a pizza while he confirmed that he gave his thoughts about the hit being clean. However, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour suspects that Slavin may have suffered a concussion, per Tom Gulitti of

The hit against the 6-foot-2 Hurricanes player did not warrant an ejection. The Panthers were given minor penalties for the play. Brent Burns, Jordan Martinook, and Matthew Tchakuk were all given the said penalties after the whistle.

Jaccob Slavin’s early exit in Game 4 would prove to be crucial. With his notable absence for the remainder of the game, the Panthers took over and sweep the Hurricanes to win the series. Slavin had seven goals along with 20 assists in the 76 games he played.

The Hurricanes controlled 59% of the expected goals at five-on-five when Slavin was in play. His absence due to the intense hit delivered by Sam Benett was unfortunate for the Hurricanes despite it being legal. Jaccob Slavin will have a long time to recover as his team enters the off-season.

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Jordan Staal gets emotional after painful Panthers sweep of Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal got emotional as he addressed the media following their heartbreaking loss to the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The sadness in Staal’s eyes was obvious as he tried to make sense of the painful sweeping loss that the Panthers just handed them, telling reporters that it certainly didn’t feel like a “four-to-nothing sweep series.”

Staal did make sure to give credit to the Panthers, however. He admitted that Florida stuck to their game plan and executed their style perfectly.

“Obviously, that’s kind of their game, though. They keep you outside and keep you from getting the second chances. And they make you pay going down the other way quickly,” Staal said of the Panthers, via SportsNets. “They got guys that can score goals and make you pay at the wrong time.”

It’s not only Jordan Staal who was full of emotions after the loss, though. His Carolina teammates also tried to hold back their tears after failing to even win one game and extend the series.

To be fair, Staal is right when he said that it didn’t feel like a 4-0 series sweep at all. In Game 4 on Wednesday night, the Hurricanes fought hard and appeared to be headed to overtime after tying the game in the third period. Unfortunately for them, Matthew Tkachuk happened.

The series has been really close, with the Panthers winning by just one point in all four games in the sweep. Carolina just wasn’t able to make the key stops to win, but there’s no denying that they made it an interesting series.

While it’s certainly disappointing to see the Hurricanes exit the Eastern Conference Finals via sweep, they can still hold their head highs with their performance.

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Matthew Tkachuk gets brutally honest on trophy superstition after Panthers sweep Hurricanes

Florida Panthers superstar Matthew Tkachuk couldn’t care less about the superstitions when it comes to touching the Eastern Conference Finals trophy. He’ll touch and hug it no matter what other people say.

For those following the NHL faithfully, it’s pretty well known how a lot of players avoid touching the Conference Finals trophies after winning them. There is this superstition that doing so brings bad luck in the Stanley Cup Finals, and since there’s nothing wrong in believing it, many has practiced it.

However, Tkachuk is not a superstitious guy as it seems. He shared as much as he opted to celebrate with the East Finals trophy and even took pictures with it.

Speaking to reporters after he led the Panthers to a last-gasp victory over the Carolina Hurricanes and complete their sweep, Matthew Tkachuk emphasized that they earned the trophy and deserved to celebrate it.

“The last thing that we’re going to do is be is superstitious about not touching it. Like, nobody said we were even going to make the playoffs. I think it’s pretty cool to touch it, carry it around and take pictures with it. We earned that thing,” Tkachuk explained, per team reporter Jameson Olive.

Sure enough, Tkachuk has a great point. It’s not really the time that they need to believe such superstitions after exceeding all the expectations when the odds were stacked against them. From being the eighth seed to making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Panthers definitely shouldn’t be scared of such beliefs.

Tkachuk and the Panthers are filled with optimism and brimming with confidence right now, and they won’t let some silly practice ruin that.

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