Hawks notes: Raanta to start vs. Oilers

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12
4:51
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks rookie goaltender Antti Raanta will start against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said prior to the game.

Raanta will make his first start since Jan. 3. He is 11-1-3 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Quenneville said he did not consider starting Corey Crawford against the Oilers despite Crawford having one of his best performances of the season on Saturday. Crawford stopped 36-of-38 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on the road on Saturday.

“We still got a lot of hockey games,” Quenneville said. “Back-to-back games, it’s a perfect time to put Antti in. But loved the way [Crawford] played. He’s come back with three excellent games off his injury.”

Overtime record: Quenneville said he’s been disappointed with the Blackhawks’ 4-10 overtime record this season. The Blackhawks were 11-5 in overtime/shootout games last season.

The Blackhawks have dropped the last six games that have gone into overtime or a shootout. Their last shootout/overtime win came on Nov. 29.

“The tough point is what we’re doing in overtime, not picking up points, 10 losses,” Quenneville said. “Maybe pick up 4-5 more points there, put you in a pretty good spot. We always say get the point and look for the second one in overtime when you’re particularly late in the game.

“Last night was a good point [against the Canadiens], certainly, the way things were going, but certainly disappointed the way it ended. For the most part, we can be better. It’s a stretch where we can say we’re not where we were most of the year, but still not in a bad spot.”

Slow starts: Part of the Blackhawks’ problem in January has been not being able to score in the first period. They haven’t scored a first-period goal in five games in January and have been outscored 4-0 during that span.

Quenneville said shorter shifts could help the Blackhawks break out of that funk, but he thinks patience and defense are still the keys to success.

“I don’t think we had a terrible start [on Saturday,]” Quenneville said. “Not scoring first in the last five games, we’ve been chasing it. That’s something different that we haven’t done -- not scoring in the first period. It’s something in a long stretch we haven’t done as well. I don’t think we want to sit there thinking that we want to score, score first because you’ll be chasing the game the whole time.

“There’s nothing wrong being patient and playing the game that’s in front of us. You’re not going to get 5-6 goals a night. I think we got to be living as a team that, ‘Hey, that’s the way it is.’ You don’t want to be going into games thinking that we’re going to get five on anybody. We want to make sure we’re playing a team game. That’s how you win in our league -- playing tight games. I think defensively that’s the area we have to improve on as well.”
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26