When Corey Crawford went down with a lower body injury for the Chicago Blackhawks, many wondered how backup Antti Raanta would handle being asked to be the No. 1 goaltender in his absence. Well, in the three games that Raanta has played since Crawford went down with his injury in the game against the Florida Panthers, Raanta has stepped up and delivered.
Raanta has made 29, 27, and 28 saves in each of the three games he has played while giving up two goals in each of those games. It is also no surprise that the Blackhawks have won each of the three games by scores of 6-2, 6-2, and 7-2. Looking at the final scorelines it is easy to say that Raanta has had no real impact on any of the them.
Assuming and saying that about Raanta’s performances in the past three games would be belittling his play. Raanta has proven that he can make the necessary and key save which has helped the Blackhawks maintain a multiple goal advantage in the early to the middle part of each game. Raanta has also been helped out by the play of his teammates who have been a key reason for the Blackhawks being 15th in the league in goals against average which currently stands at 2.6.
Contrast that to some of the struggles their opponent on Saturday night is having. The Toronto Maple Leafs‘ goaltending has struggled as in three of the four losses the Maple Leafs have had in the month of December they have given up four goals or more in each of those games. In addition to giving up goals, the Maple Leafs have given up 41, 39, 23, and 22 shots on goal. While the total number of shots in their last two losses has been reasonable, this is a contrast to what they have shown in a number of other games. In a few contests they have allowed upwards of 50 shots on goal. With a very talented offensive team like the Blackhawks, the Maple Leafs’ defense and goaltending look to be in for another long night.
Lucas Carreras is a contributing NHL writer for RantSports.com. Lucas also contributes writing on Soccer and the San Francisco 49ers. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan and you can add him to your network on Google.