RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Through a smile plastered ear to ear, and even through hugs shared between him and his daughter in the postgame media availability — you could see it.

Antti Raanta was brimming with emotion following Saturday’s 3-2 series-clinching Game 7 win over Boston.

“We were talking with Pauly (Paul Schonfelder, the Carolina Hurricanes goalies coach) and he pretty much told me whatever happens today your ole man, wherever he’s watching, he’s super proud,” Raanta said.

Raanta’s father, who used to text him encouraging messages before every game, passed away in the Summer of 2021. He never saw his son play in a Carolina Hurricanes jersey, win a playoff game or even start in one.

“It would be great if my dad would be here and he would see this,” Raanta said.”I’m sure he’s somewhere and he’s super happy.”

Raanta has become the somewhat unlikely backbone in Carolina’s defensive efforts in their run for a Stanley Cup. In Game 7 of their series with Boston, he stopped 27 of the 29 pucks that came his way. One of three outings he started in that earned him and the Canes a win against Boston.

“Like we’ve been playing the whole year, the team in front of me is doing a great job so I just try to do my job and help the guys to get the win,” Raanta said.

A month ago Raanta would have expected to enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs serving as the backup to Frederik Andersen – but that was before Andersen sustained a lower-body injury during a routine Saturday evening game in Colorado.

The injury has kept Andersen sidelined for nearly a month and catapulted Raanta into the starting job.

“When Freddie got hurt it was kind of like now it’s a chance for me to show what I can do in the big stages,” Raanta said. “Starting from game one I think my game was pretty good.”

Through six games played, and six starts, Raanta is 3-3 boasting a 92.7 save percentage in the postseason.