Blackhawks News

Antti Raanta Holds Down The Fort In Blackhawks Easy 6-2 Victory

By Keith Schultz

Dec 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) shoots and scores a goal against the Florida Panthers during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks were on the powerplay almost as soon as the game started and the Hawks cashed in almost instantly when Patrick Sharp blasted one in from the point.  Patrick Kane picked up an assist on the goal extending his new point streak to five games. Entering the game the Hawks are 15-0-3 when scoring first, they also would score second when Brent Seabrook had all day to blow one by the Florida Panthers goalie for an early 2-0 lead with 2 powerplay goals. The huge story of the first period wasn’t any of the offense but Corey Crawford looked to go down with a groin injury.  He looked to be in a lot of discomfort and Antti Raanta had to come in relief.  The Panthers had 2 back to back powerplays but were not able to cash in as Raanta was pretty sharp coming in off the bench.

The second period started out like the first with a quick strike, this time by Marian Hossa.  The Hawks seemed to be ready to put it in cruise control when Niklas Hjlmarsson and Johnny Oduya decided to  totally screw up an outlet and Dylan Olsen capitalized with his 2nd goal of the season.  After the defense let down Raanta, Raanta let down Raanta when he turned the puck over in his own and Marcel Goc finished off the Panthers 2nd goal of the period. The Hawks were really on their heels and seemed to be in a lot of danger of losing the lead until Michal Handzus banged in a loose puck and put the Hawks up 4-2 in the final minutes of the period.  All was back in order with the Hawks holding down a 2 goal lead heading to the 3rd period.

The third period was a pretty boring affair, but after losing two games this week by giving up third period goals a less stressful third period was a nice break. The Hawks scored at the beginning of the period when Andrew Shaw tipped in a Patrick Sharp shot from the point for a 5-2 lead.  The Hawks got some good work out of Antti Raanta in relief of Corey Crawford. He looked shaky at times and a little uneasy with the puck at times, but overall he was pretty solid. The scoring for the night was closed out when Brandon Saad got in on a breakaway and put it five hole for his 9th goal of the season.

This is just what the Dr. ordered except for the Crawford injury. An easy stress free win and the Hawks are now 21-6-5.

What is your takeaway from tonight’s win?