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Friday, January 3, 2014
Antti Raanta starts in goal against Devils

By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNChicago.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- Antti Raanta started for the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night against the New Jersey Devils.

However, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville Quenneville said that as of right now, No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford, who made 31 saves in his return to the lineup Thursday night after missing nearly a month due to a groin injury, will get more of the starts going forward.

The Blackhawks rotated starts pretty regularly between Crawford (28) and Ray Emery (19) last season.

"Tough to say, but right now I would say Crow's gonna get more of the games, and then we'll go from there," Quenneville said.

Raanta, 24, has emerged seemingly out of nowhere. The undrafted rookie netminder earned NHL Co-Rookie of the Month honors after allowing two or fewer goals in 10 of his 12 appearances in December. Quenneville called Raanta's December "remarkable."

A native of Rauma, Finland, Raanta is 10-1-3 this season with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. He made his NHL debut Nov. 19 (in relief of Crawford) and made his first start eight days later.

The Blackhawks are carrying three goaltenders. Jason LaBarbera is likely to be sent down to AHL Rockford after Friday night's game, but Quenneville said no official decision on that has been made.

"We'll see. We'll make a move after the game tonight if all goes well," he said. "But (Antti's) really done a nice job for us, and we like what we've seen. We'll make a decision after the game."