Blackhawks' Raanta bounces back in big way
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Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta is congratulated by Kris Versteeg after Sunday night's 3-1 victory over the Kings at the United Center.
Antti Raanta showed Sunday night why he fits in so well with the Blackhawks.
Raanta and the Hawks were able to brush aside Saturday's debacle in Toronto with a tidy 3-1 bounce-back win over the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center.
Raanta, who allowed 5 goals in the 7-3 loss to the Maple Leafs before being pulled to start the third period, overcame his first subpar performance as an NHL goalie with a 21-save performance.
"He's got a good approach to the game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's an excitable kid that keeps his composure, and he's positive and has a great attitude. He's learning the game; he's learning the league and the shooters.
"He's adjusting as we go along here. He's getting a big opportunity, and he's taking advantage of it."
Following Jonathan Toews' lead, the Hawks went ahead 3-0 in the first period and never looked back.
Toews set up Marian Hossa's short-handed goal at 5:45 by taking the puck away from defenseman Jake Muzzin behind the net. Toews also fed Patrick Sharp for a power-play goal, giving the Hawks at least 1 in nine straight games.
"It was a good response to last night's game and I thought it was across the board," Quenneville said. "There was a lot of energy in our lineup tonight. Jonny led the charge. I thought he had a strong game. When you can score short-handed early in the game you can really get the momentum in your favor."
Toews said his line with Hossa and Sharp could play even better.
"We want to play better than we've been playing," Toews said. "We want to have the puck more. I think we're three offensive players and not only do we want to be better defensively, but at the same time to sustain more pressure and not just get one chance and have to backcheck and check the rest of the shift."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter wasn't pleased with his team's start.
"Well, you can't chase the lead against a team that's, what are they, 30 or 40 goals ahead of everybody else in the league?" Sutter said. "Pretty tough to chase the lead."
The Hawks took a 3-0 lead to the third period thanks to the 3 goals in the first and some strong goaltending by Raanta in the second. It was the first time in 19 games the Kings allowed a goal in the first period.
After Hossa made it 1-0 with his 27th career short-handed goal, it became 2-0 at 9:59 when Kris Versteeg kept the puck on a 2-on-1 with Michal Handzus and fired the puck past goalie Ben Scrivens.
Sharp connected on a power play in the last minute of the period.
"Definitely not the start that we wanted," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "It's hard when you play catch-up, especially 3 goals. It's quite a bit to overcome against that kind of team."
Raanta stood out in the second period. His best save came late in the period against Kopitar when he stuck out his right pad while sprawled on the ice and robbed the Kings' star on a rebound.
Raanta lost his shutout with less than four minutes to play when Alec Martinez scored.
It was Quenneville's 684th career win, tying Pat Quinn for fourth place on the all-time list.
"I feel fortunate to be where I'm at today," Quenneville said. "I've been in some real nice places with some real good players. I like the group here we get to work with every day."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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