The first time Anton Forsberg was in net this season, he made 39 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss at Toronto.
It was quite an impressive debut for the Chicago Blackhawks' backup goalie, whom general manager Stan Bowman acquired as part of the Brandon Saad-Artemi Panarin trade in June.
Scouting reportBlackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m.
Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: Minnesota is 5-4-2 and has won three of four. … The Hawks lost 5-2 on Oct. 12 in the teams' first meeting. The game was tied at 1-1 midway through the third period, but Chris Stewart's controversial goal at 10:32 opened the floodgates for the Wild. The Hawks lost an offsides challenge, and the Wild then scored on the ensuing delay-of-game penalty to take a 3-1 lead. … Stewart leads Minnesota with 6 goals. … Devan Dubnyk (4-3-1, .905, 3.03 GAA) is off to a rough start. He went 99-54-13 with a .924 save percentage and 2.17 goals-against average in his first 2½ seasons in Minnesota. … Corey Crawford starts for the Hawks.
Next: Montreal Canadiens at United Center, 6 p.m. Sunday
-- John Dietz
Ten days later, Forsberg shined again, turning away 40 shots against the high-powered Edmonton Oilers in another overtime loss.
Brimming with confidence, Forsberg took a .929 save percentage and 2.81 goals-against average into his third start at Colorado last Saturday -- and promptly got lit up by the surprising Avs, giving up 5 goals on 20 shots in just 26 minutes and 42 seconds.
"It was one of those nights where our coverage wasn't great," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We were loose against a team that's dangerous and fast and can score."
Said Forsberg: "Sometimes you make some unbelievable saves. In those other games I kept them from scoring and this one I didn't. That's the difference.
"If we look at the game, I moved the same way. It's just sometimes those games are going to come."
But they can't come very often because every NHL team relies on their backup to start about 20-25 times in relief of their starter.
And although Forsberg looked very solid in his first two starts, the jury still is definitely out on the 24-year-old Swede.
In what is admittedly a ridiculously small sample size, Forsberg is nonetheless 1-9-2 in the NHL, with an .884 save percentage and 4.07 goals-against average in 13 games (10 of which came with Columbus).
His numbers this year (.895, 4.26) are awful thanks to that one bad start, but that's not the worst part of being a backup goalie in the NHL.
"Last year if I had a bad game, I usually played the night after," said Forsberg, who was 50-27-7 with the Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters in the AHL the last two seasons. "You get a rematch and can kind of forget it right away. It's easier to move on.
"Now I kind of have to move on by working in practice and wait for the next opportunity."
That likely will come Sunday at home against Montreal. After that, Forsberg should see the net again on Nov. 12 when the Hawks host the Devils the night after playing against Scott Darling's Carolina Huricanes.
Of the 5 goals Forsberg allowed to the Avs, it's the third one that still leaves a sour taste in his mouth. With the first-period clock racing toward 0:00, Forsberg got enough of a slap shot that it trickled through his legs and didn't cross the goal line.
Just before he could put his glove over it, though, Duncan Keith swept it out of the crease. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Mikko Rantanen swooped in and backhanded a shot that bounced off Forsberg and into the net.
"There's three seconds left in the period and it would have been a totally different game if we come in down 2-0 instead of 3-0," Forsberg said. "That's, for sure, my goal. I'm a little bit (upset) about that one.
"But I have to move on. Just let it go. It happened -- I can't do anything else. Just keep working."