Andersen overcomes mistake, D scores twice in Hurricanes’ win over Penguins

The goalie, in his second game back from injury, stopped 34 of 35 shots

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby pokes at the puck in front of Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen during Carolina's 2-1 win Saturday in Raleigh. (Karl B. DeBlaker / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — If there’s one distinguishing characteristic of Frederik Andersen’s personality, it’s that he’s pretty unflappable.

So when the Hurricanes goalie tossed and batted a puck into Pittsburgh forward Rickard Rakell that then bounced into the net to cut Carolina’s lead to one in the third period, it was no surprise he shook off the gaffe.


Andersen stopped the next nine shots he faced, and 34 in all, and the Hurricanes got two more goals from their defense in a 2-1 win over the Penguins in front of 18,769 Saturday at PNC Arena.

“One of his strengths is he kind of doesn’t get too high and he certainly doesn’t get too low either,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He just kind of stays in the moment. So clearly, he did that there.”

It was just the second start for Andersen since he returned from a lower-body injury that kept him out two months and led to questions about whether he was still capable of being Carolina’s No. 1 goalie.

After allowing just three goals total in two straight wins, Andersen has quickly regained the form that made him a Vezina Trophy contender last season.

“I’ll definitely take two wins, for sure,” Andersen said. “You’ve gotta keep building on just feeling good and comfortable in there.”

As for the only goal he allowed, Andersen said he treated it like any other puck that gets behind him.

“I was trying to get it out of the zone and not give up a whistle, but obviously the worst-case scenario,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter how you get scored on, you’ve got to be able to reset and finish the job.”

Andersen did, with the help of Carolina’s penalty killers.

The Hurricanes were called for six penalties to the Penguins’ two, including two in the game’s final 6½ minutes and a prolonged 5-on-3 at the end of the second period.

Other than Rakell’s goal on Andersen’s miscue, the Carolina penalty kill was perfect, going for 5 for 6 on the night. That included surviving a Pittsburgh two-man advantage that included having key penalty killer Jordan Staal in the box.

“That can win games for sure,” defenseman Jalen Chatfield, who scored for the second straight game, said of the penalty kill. “You’ve got to be dialed in on that, and I think we were from the start of this game. We got a few too many penalties, probably, but when the penalty kill plays like that, you’re gonna win games.”

It also helps when the defense is contributing offensively.

After scoring five of Carolina’s six goals two nights earlier in Columbus, the defense opened the scoring on Saturday.

With the Staal line cycling in the Penguins’ end, the puck went up top to defenseman Brett Pesce, who rotated it over to partner Brady Skjei. Skjei faked a shot at the top of the left circle, fooling Rakell, and moved forward before snapping a shot past the glove of Casey DeSmith (34 saves) for a 1-0 lead with just under three minutes left in the first period.

It was Skjei’s ninth goal of the year, matching the career high he set last season.

“I find myself in some pretty good spots on the ice,” Skjei said. “Obviously, when you can shoot from the middle of the slot, you’d want to see it go in. I’ve just been lucky to find those corners recently.”

Carolina doubled its lead near the game’s midway point, and it was again the defense doing the damage.

After Jordan Martinook and Jesper Fast won a battle behind the Penguins’ net, Sebastian Aho — fresh off the bench — swooped in to get the puck and drew two Pittsburgh defenders.

Aho then saw Chatfield jump into the soft spot vacated by the Penguins and set up the defenseman for a one-timer that beat DeSmith blocker side high for a 2-0 lead at 9:14 of the middle frame.

“It was a beautiful play,” Chatfield said of the setup by Aho. “Right in my wheelhouse, got a good shot and it went in.”

It was the fourth career goal for Chatfield, all coming in the last 11 games after he played his first 66 in the NHL without scoring.

“I’ve got great players around me making plays to help me do that,” he said, “and I just got a shooting mentality. You just throw it on net and good things happen.”

Brind’Amour said Chatfield is just now getting results on the scoresheet after playing consistently all season.

“The puck’s going in now,” Brind’Amour said. “He gets chances every night, he’s in the rush, he’s got a good shot. But I think you can see he’s been confident all year.”

Notes: After Aho was thrown out of the faceoff circle at the start of the third period during the 5-on-3 kill, Brent Burns was forced to take a faceoff against Sidney Crosby. He won it cleanly, his first faceoff win since the 2015-16 season. He is now 81-97 (45.5%) for his career, having played forward for a brief time. … Burns played 19:26, just the third time this season he’s played fewer than 20 minutes. He had played under 20 minutes just three times in the previous seven seasons. … The Hurricanes finished 4-0-0 in the season series against the Penguins, with two of those wins coming in overtime.