If fatigue is a factor early on in this NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks showed the NHL last night that they might not be able to ride one goaltender for such a long period of time.
The Hawks came back from a 7-2 blowout loss to the Nashville Predators last week by taking down recent Western Conference rival, 5-1.
The Hawks looked to ride the bounce back victory over the Sharks on Tuesday night, but the Blackhawks ran into a young and ready Colorado Avalanche team. The Avalanche took it to the Hawks, beating them 5-1 and spoiling Hawks’ winger Patrick Kane’s birthday.
The Avalanche, headed by Hockey Hall of Famer and first-year coach Patrick Roy, took the Blackhawks out of the game early by taking a 3-0 lead after the first period. The Avalanche also took control over the game by taking out starting goaltender Corey Crawford after the first period.
Then entered Antti Raanta, who made his NHL debut after being called up for the injured backup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Raanta came in and made some key saves early in his appearance, but then later gave up two goals to finish off the game.
In one bright spot on the game against Colorado, rookie Brandon Saad recorded his sixth goal of the season and continues to play well on the same line as Kane.
With a long “circus trip” continuing for the Hawks, coach Joel Quenneville might not have a choice when going to the young netminder. Crawford has worked his tail off so far this season and might need a bit of a break from behind the net. If Raanta can hold his own like he showed after shaking off the nerves Tuesday night, the Hawks could have a legitimate backup goaltender in Antti Raanta.
Does anyone remember Antti Niemi?
This story sounds all too familiar for Chicago hockey fans as the former Hawks goalie came in as a backup goaltender and led the Hawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup.
The Hawks continue their “circus” road trip when they visit the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Central) and can be seen on CSN-Chicago and TSN-Jets.
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