Kane, Hawks rally in Raanta's first start
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The Blackhawks were looking for a fourth straight win on their circus road trip Wednesday and sent rookie goalie Antti Raanta out against the Calgary Flames to try and get it.
Raanta got it all right, but it wasn't easy. The Hawks rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to stun the Flames 3-2 on Patrick Kane's goal with 18 seconds to play.
Kane extended his points streak to 12 games.
"Sometimes you go on a run and are catching some breaks," Kane told reporters. "When you're going through a streak like this you always feel some confidence."
Earlier in the third, Kane and Patrick Sharp scored 56 seconds apart to tie the game.
Raanta, signed as a free agent last summer, was making his first NHL start. He had relieved Corey Crawford last week on Nov. 18 in a loss at Colorado and said playing that stretch against the Avs helped.
"There were a couple good saves and I knew after that game I could play at this level," Raanta told reporters. "Of course, there are still lots of things to come."
Raanta kept the Hawks in a scoreless game until late in the second period when the Flames took a 1-0 lead. Matt Stajan scored at 13:32 on a feed from Jiri Hudler after the Hawks failed to clear the zone.
Sean Monahan's goal early in the third period made it a 2-goal lead.
Raanta was a star in Finland and had several teams pursuing him last summer. He tried to take Wednesday as just another game even if it was not.
"I tried to get a good game-day nap," Raanta said. "I tried not to think about it too much because then it's not going to go well. I'm trying to show everything that I have.
"That's the plan from the first puck to the last puck, to be as good as possible."
Crawford made 15 consecutive appearances before Wednesday. Raanta also might get a start Friday at Dallas or Saturday at Phoenix.
This is Raanta's chance to prove himself with regular backup Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined because of a leg injury.
"He's got some personality," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. "He's a young kid and he's got some enthusiasm in his game. He works hard every day and has some life when he's not playing.
"He finally gets a chance to start a game. It's a great opportunity for him and hopefully we respond in front of him as well."
Marian Hossa returned to the lineup after missing two games to be with his wife, who was hospitalized. Hossa took his place back on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Sharp, and set up Sharp's goal.
The Hawks got their second look at Flames goalie Reto Berra, who made 42 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Hawks on Nov. 3 at the United Center in his NHL debut.
"He had a great start against us and played well," Quenneville said. "I don't think we had the people in front of him traffic-wise that we would have liked. We did have some real good looks at him and he had a strong game, but I still think if we had that quantity, we need more quality by getting more people there to the front of the net."
Both Raanta and Berra were tested in a scoreless first period.
Berra stopped Hossa early in on a backhander after the Hawks' star skated through the Calgary defense.
Late in the period, Raanta slid across to stone Mike Cammalleri in tight.
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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