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updated: 12/9/2013 7:58 PM

Blackhawks have faith in Raanta

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  • The Blackhawks will be relying on Antti Raanta to get the job done until starter Corey Crawford returns from a leg injury.

    The Blackhawks will be relying on Antti Raanta to get the job done until starter Corey Crawford returns from a leg injury.
    Associated Press


There was no official word from the Blackhawks on Monday regarding the severity of goalie Corey Crawford's apparent groin injury.

The Hawks did recall goaltender Kent Simpson from Rockford and announce Crawford would not accompany the team to Dallas for Tuesday's game against the Stars, but both were expected.

Crawford was hurt in the first period of Sunday's 6-2 win over Florida making a save on Marcel Goc from in the slot. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game the injury didn't appear to be serious.

Antti Raanta replaced Crawford and went on to make 29 saves in posting his third victory.

Now it will be up to Raanta to carry the workload in goal until Crawford or Nikolai Khabibulin return. Khabibulin has been sidelined since Nov. 17 with a leg injury of his own.

Quenneville said before Sunday's game there is no timetable in effect for Khabibulin's return and that the veteran isn't even skating. The Hawks are confident that Raanta can do the job until Crawford gets healthy.

"Antti's been great in the few games he's played making big saves," Patrick Sharp said.

"He keeps himself ready and focused and he's a battler," Quenneville said. "He made some saves (Sunday) with that same type of approach. He's never out of the play, and he's a fighter.

"He's done a good job. He's played some games now and we've got to see him a little bit more and he's doing what we want him to do."

Raanta is 3-0-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He admitted it was tough coming in cold against the Panthers. "It's not the nicest thing to go in there during the middle of the period," he said, "but sometimes you just have to go there."

Raanta admitted he needed to work on his stickhandling and how he communicates with the defensemen. It was a turnover by Raanta in the second period that led to a goal by Goc and trimmed the Hawks' lead to 3-2.

Raanta was trying to get the puck to Duncan Keith along the boards but put too much on the pass.

"Maybe a little bit more I have to practice stickhandling and things like that," Raanta said. "There are still too many problems with the defense and we have bad situations going on. I'm going to try to be as good as possible."

Sharp said there wasn't time to think about Crawford during the game and that all the team's attention turned to helping Raanta.

"You try not to think about it," Sharp said. "Injuries are part of the game, but it's not often you see the goalie leave the game. You know it's got to be something serious, but you're not going to waste any energy.

"We all care about Crow, no question, but in the middle of a game we've got to focus on our jobs. Injuries, we've dealt with our fair share this year. We've got guys that can step up and hopefully fill the role."

Simpson, 21, never has appeared in an NHL game. He was 6-7-0 in 15 games at Rockford with a 3.38 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

The Edmonton native owns a 7-8-1 record in 18 career games with the IceHogs, dating to the 2011-12 season. The Hawks drafted him in the second round (58th overall) in 2010.

•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone.

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