Success fuels ‘fun’ for Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen in overtime and shootouts

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Frederik Andersen couldn’t help breaking into a smile. A small one, but a smile.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators were just beginning a shootout Thursday at Canadian Tire Centre and the Senators shooting first. Tyler Ennis was chosen as the first to test Andersen and tried to beat the big goalie with a low backhand shot to the glove side.

Andersen jutted out his left pad and stopped the puck. Ennis, Andersen’s former teammate with the Toronto Maple Leafs, gave Andersen a bemused look, causing him to grin.

For a guy who had a 16-22 career record in shootouts, who can have gruff, no-nonsense exterior during games, Andersen appeared to be enjoying himself. He then stopped Tim Stützle and Sens captain Brady Tkachuk while Andrei Svechnikov scored for Carolina, giving the Canes a 3-2 victory in their first shootout of the season and first place in the Metropolitan Division.

“I like it when we win ‘em,” Andersen said after the game. “That’s obviously fun.

Success fuels the fun

Andersen has had a lot of fun this season. He has 23 wins in the Canes’ 29-9-2 season, which has meant a lot of helmet taps after games from teammates lined up to congratulate him.

In his first season with Carolina, Andersen ranks second in the NHL in wins to Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (24), fourth in goals-against average (2.05) and fifth in save percentage (.928) among goalies who have played five or more games. Sparkling numbers, all.

Svechnikov was asked after the game about Andersen’s impact on the team.

“Huge,” the forward said. “He’s making the saves, he’s staying very calm, for sure.”

Andersen, who has 249 career wins, said he likes the challenge of overtimes, which he calls entertaining and “really exciting.” But shootouts? After a back-and-forth overtime, which can end with a blink-of-an-eye transition and goal, shootouts can be a letdown, he said — something of a necessary evil to finally bring a game to a close and have a winner.

“You can’t play forever so I get it in the regular season,” he said.

Andersen said his approach to shootouts is a keep-it-simple-stupid mindset.

“I try not to think too much,” he said. “My movements get slower if I start thinking too much. Guys are too skilled and they can make you look pretty silly. I just try to match their speed and do my best. I just have fun with it and try to react to what they’re trying to do.”

Grinding out a win

Andersen and the Canes were less than four minutes away from a loss in regulation against the Senators. Ottawa won an early December game in Raleigh against Carolina to end a six-game losing streak, and the Sens were looking to win again, taking a 2-1 lead into the final minutes of the third period.

Nino Niederreiter’s goal with 3:22 left in regulation tied it for the Canes, Niederreiter and Jesper Fast going to the front of the net and Niederreiter punching a rebound past Matt Murray.

“We tried the whole period to tie it up,” Andersen said. “Fortunately it worked out. Huge goal by Nino.”

Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov, left, scores the shootout winner against Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray during NHL hockey game action Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Ottawa, Ontario. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)
Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov, left, scores the shootout winner against Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray during NHL hockey game action Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Ottawa, Ontario. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Svechnikov had his multi-point game streak end at five but had the shootout winner, the fourth of his career. That came after he made a hustling play in overtime, skating back to hinder Tkachuk, who had a partial breakaway, and help Andersen make a game-saving stop.

“That doesn’t necessarily translate into a point but it surely saves one,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Svechnikov’s defensive play.

The Senators later had 50 seconds of a 4-on-3 power play to end the overtime after a hooking penalty on defenseman Jaccob Slavin. But Andersen stopped two shots, the last of his 37 saves.

Andersen and Canes center Sebastian Aho will be going to the 2022 NHL All-Star Game and competing for the Metro team coached by Brind’Amour. Before leaving for Las Vegas, Andersen should have one more start for the Canes, who play back-to-back home games against New Jersey and San Jose on Saturday and Sunday.

“He’s a superstar,” Svechnikov said. “He’s a star of our team, for sure.”

Carolina Hurricanes vs New Jersey Devils

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh.

TV/Radio: Bally Sports South, WCMC-99.9 FM