Antti Raanta, Blackhawks Bounce Back

Less than 24 hours after getting demolished in Toronto, Antti Raanta and the Chicago Blackhawks bounced back with a resounding home victory over the streaking Los Angeles Kings.

Raanta was back between the pipes after lasting only two periods against the Leafs on Friday night, and was as good as we’ve seen him in an NHL game. He stopped 21 of 22 Kings shots, allowing only an Alec Martinez tally with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. He made a number of acrobatic saves, and was a key to the Hawks killing all three Los Angeles power plays in the game.

Jonathan Toews was exceptional the entire night as well. He led the Hawks with five takeaways, won 10 of 13 faceoffs and had two assists.

His assist on Marian Hossa’s short-handed goal 5:45 into the first period was the result of a great hustle play and an even better pass to Hossa in front of the net. Toews’ assist on Patrick Sharp’s power play goal with 29 seconds left in the first showed great vision and execution.

Thanks to Toews, the Blackhawks were up 3-0 at the end of the first period.

And the Kings were as hot as any team in the league.

LA hadn’t allowed a first period goal in 18 games. They also hadn’t allowed three goals against in those 18 games. And they were 8-0-2 in their last 10 road games before Sunday night at the United Center.

The Hawks’ second goal in the first came from Kris Versteeg, with the primary assist going to Patrick Kane. It was Kane’s 26th assist of the season and his 45th point in 36 games, now only one behind Sidney Crosby for the NHL point lead.

After dominating in November and earning the NHL’s Number One Star of the month, Kane has been even better in December. He has a point in all eight games the Hawks have played in December (nine consecutive overall) and now has 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in those eight games.

Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook were credited with assists in the game. For Keith, the assist was his 28th of the season; he is now tied with Crosby and Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom for third in the NHL in assists, with Kane right behind them.

Three goals were enough, but the defensive effort from Chicago was an incredible turnaround from Saturday night’s debacle. The Hawks were much better clearing the puck when Raanta left a rebound, and the team blocked 11 shots in front of their rookie netminder.

Sheldon Brookbank skated at forward, replacing Jeremy Morin. He was on the ice for 10:59 in the game, and was credited with two hits and two blocked shots. Brandon Bollig was the lowest ice-time recipient on the night, only 9:33 but he was credited with one hit, one takeaway and one blocked shot.

Raanta LAK

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28 Responses to Antti Raanta, Blackhawks Bounce Back

  1. Mining Man says:

    If Scrivens had not got it together after the first it would have been a much bigger score. The Blackhawks were superb, totally dominating every aspect of play. I am glad they bounced right back to the team we all know. Too bad we didnt get the shut out…so close. We can all breathe again and our fears have vanished.

  2. ebonyraptor says:

    Great bounce back game.

    Here’s the thing, in my opinion, when the Hawks play their best, they will beat any team. The Hawks best game is better than the best game of every other team – but that has to include goaltending too. If the Hawks play a solid team game and are clicking AND the goalie doesn’t blow it – they win. Period.

  3. ebonyraptor says:

    Oh … and thank you to the aliens for returning the real Johnny Toews.

  4. RyanDale says:

    yeah, I found it odd 19 was back to taking his regular number of draws and playing well in the middle of a b2b, after being ‘obviously hurt’ recently.

  5. Morrison says:

    Tazers back, Bicks is coming soon, Crow in a few wks. Getting moar healthy. Starting to come together.

    Biggest Bunch of Beautys.

  6. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Great team effort. Most impressive victory of the season that I can think of. It was a game of 3 distinct chapters. The Kings were seriously on the come in the 2nd yet Raanta and the Hawks were up to the challenge against an excellent and well coached team. The Hawks win by doing what is their trademark…as Hitchcock likes to say and he is so right, they don’t let you have the puck.

    Lots if strong play. Saad was excellent on both ends of the ice. Toews flashed the form that has been missing for awhile and was huge ( he clearly is not 100% though). And my unsung role player? Brookbank. Had a rock solid game. Sharp’s energy level also highly notable at the UC. Clearly he badly wants to make the Canadian Olympic team.

  7. Morgzie says:

    Anyone have a sense of when St. Louis catches up with the 5 games in hand they have? Will the Hawks return from the Olympic break with the same big margin? I’d prefer to have a lighter schedule after the break to get ready for the playoffs…and have the Blues (& others) with heavy schedules. Let all our olympians get a rest.

  8. Cam says:

    “Anyone have a sense of when St. Louis catches up with the 5 games in hand they have? Will the Hawks return from the Olympic break with the same big margin?”

    Blues have 26 games before the break while the Hawks have 24.

  9. Pete says:

    I have been wondering about the game disparity thing. Up to this point in the season the Hawks have played more games(36) than any other team in the league and 5 more than St. Louis, Dallas and Colorado. Then you look at the schedule going forward and the Hawks play a lot of games and it seems like every other day after the break. I realize it has to happen, but you wonder how and when these other teams will make up the 5 game disparity. Obviously it has to happen, but in the meantime don’t other teams have a significant advantage in playing less games up to that point until eventually the schedule evens out. The schedule is what it is, but wouldn’t it be preferable to play less games early so the team is fresher comparably against other teams for as long as possible. I doubt this matter to any degree.

  10. goldenbladz says:

    Did not get to see this game but i’m glad they won this game to show that the Saturday game was a blip on the radar. Leafs your 15 minutes of fame are over and you will probably miss the the playoffs.

  11. JS says:

    Another timely penalty by Shaw. Still waiting for someone to tell him to stop. Apparently he bit Nolan’s finger, but Shaw is a great classy Blackhawk who would never do anything like that!

    Brookbank certainly had his best game of the year as a forward. It probably helps getting regular shifts. However, that line was still the worst of all of the lines. It will come as a shock to no one paying attention, but the Saad, Shaw, Morin line had been one of the best in terms of Corsi for the last handful of games… put Brookbank out there, and they were the only line in the red. Coincidence?

    LA had been one of the best possession teams in the league and the Hawks just took it to them. If not for a pretty solid game by Scrivens, the game could have been more of a blowout.

    Raanta was pretty great. Yay.

  12. Mike says:

    Great great effort by the Hawks and not a great effort by an LA team who are better than what they showed. This is really a good thing for Raanta who could easily have been mentally crushed if he were to have another bad outing.

    We have said before, it is the responsibility of the skaters to protect the goalie especially a back up. Those who blamed the Leaf’s debacle on Kostka are simply wrong. He was pulled last night in favor of Rosy which is fine. But I hope this was NOT due to his play Saturday evening. In a 7 goal barrage, Kostka and Morin ended up as +/- 0. Besides, the 4th line and 3d D pairing are not the reason the Hawks got their butts kicked.

    I still prefer Kostka and Morin over Rosy and Brookbank. Morin, particularly, is just a matter of time. He makes things happen in the offensive zone. Once he tweaks his anticipation and vision he will be a 20 goal scorer in the NHL

  13. wall says:

    Billy Beane/JS- pretty spot on- all points…

    If/when Saad learns the time/patience (a little more)- had a 3 on 1 and really didn’t produce a good chance- (and has had several this year like it that have not produced good chances)…
    that Kid is going to be a complete MONSTER…

    Nice to see the PP- change looks and Player positions (to be much less predictable)…
    Sharp scored from 88’s normal right slot (Sharp has whiffed on almost every left slot PP)… IN A 1-3-1 SET… and was that Patty Kane In the middle???????????????

  14. ebonyraptor says:

    After a brief interlude of lamentation, dynastic chatter may now resume …

  15. JS says:

    The Hawks either did a great job scouting the Kings PP or the Kings did a god awful job scouting the Blackhawks PK. They only had two people at the blue line and it made it pretty easy for the single pressure guy to interrupt the passes… now did the Hawks know that they were going to do that or did their 1-1-2 format just work well enough against that one unit?

    As far as Saad goes- he’s on pace for close to 30 goals and just think about how many more he could pot with a better shot/more patience! He may end up as a perennial 40 goal scorer… and he just turned 21! I just hope he doesn’t want a billion dollars when it’s contract time.

    And yes, ER, until they lose another head scratcher to a bad team in 2 weeks. Then we’ll have to take a day off again.

  16. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Lots of character and leadership on this roster. The Hawks got outmatched in Toronto and came home to the hottest team in the league and completely outplayed them. LA doesn’t score much and the Hawks punched them in the face early and often and the Kings laid down. Outside of 90 seconds left to play the Hawks controlled the Kings. The Kings are a good time and if was not for the Chicago franchise the Kings would get alot of recognition,….Hammmer and Nail and the Kings have been the Hawks nail recently and when it has mattered most. I thought Saad, Raanta played great and Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa just do what they do and thats dominate

  17. Sr. Brad says:

    You knew this was coming…the Hawks are simply too good and too mature not to respond to a stinker…Keith, Toews and Hossa were three of our worst players Saturday, and that wasn’t going to happen again…this is what ER is referring to about the Hawks being able to beat anyone…when this team focuses it wins…flat out…

    As Mike and others mentioned, the loss in TO was not because of Kostka or Morin…besides Kane and Saad, our big names did not come out to play…the Saad, Shaw, Morin line has been great…as JS referenced, that line was NOT the same last night with a DMan skating at RW…and not surprisingly their puck control (aka Corsi #) was wanting…and I don’t blame BB…he wants to play hockey and will accept any role, but as a RW on a dynamic, young line like that, he’s way out of his depth…for most of the night he just played defence…so much so, that Rozy found himself stepping up into the slot and playing more of a forward’s role in the D zone…

    Toews really led the charge last night and had a great game, BUT he is still not himself, and late in the game, he stopped taking F/Os again…I find it odd, but lately Hossa is simply following suit with Toews…if Tazer steps up so does Hoss, and if Johhny is hurting then Hoss has been invisible…its probably due to another new family member, but I would love to see this change…

    As for Raanta, he wasn’t the problem in TO and he wasn’t the answer last night…perhaps he played a little better last night, but he wasn’t awful at all in TO…the Hawk goalies are products of team defence…Raanta is a good, young goalie, but no all star…he will be more than fine as long as our vaunted forwards continue to back check and our defence corp competes…

    The LA goalie Scrivens was outstanding…the Hawks should have won that game by a bunch…Scrivens stoned them time and again…

    Handzus shouldn’t be playing night in and night out…

    JS, there is a fine line to Shaw’s game…and you are right, he still steps over it from time to time, but without Shaw, Kane is not 2nd in the league in scoring…Sharp isn’t a shooting machine…Hossa doesn’t have the space he’s getting…the defence aren’t getting that extra split second to move the puck along the boards…Shaw is a VERY necessary presence for this team…he keeps other teams honest in how they treat our “stars” and it isn’t with fists…he does it with his body, his stick and his mouth…this is the “ugly” side of hockey, that Shaw does as well as anyone in the league…

  18. Phil says:

    I didn’t feel that the game from Saturday needed any comment yesterday, since it was a team statement that collectively said the Hawks weren’t ready to play that game against a team they otherwise should beat in their sleep. No offense meant to the Leafs whom otherwise brought a great effort.

    I expected a big rebound showing last night at the UC from the Hawks and they brought it big time in just about all areas. Solid goaltending, a strangling team defense that included an effective forecheck, along with dangerous offensive pressure made last nights contest against a solid Kings team one of our most impressive wins of this campaign.

    Johnny Toews looked as though he was shot out of a cannon last night. That is as quick as he has been on skates in 2-3 weeks and his hands also looked quicker, or better said back to normal. He did it all and his line was dominant all night. It always seems that when the Capt. is flying the team just jumps on board.

    I thought it interesting that in the 1st period last night the Kings were bringing 2-3 in aggressive on the forecheck. The Hawks though took hits while making crisp outlet passes, and lo and behold there were numerous odd man breaks for the Hawks moving forward through the neutral zone with speed. Kings expended big energy trying to “run” Hawk players, and there was no payoff. This was Bluesesque type hockey embracing the beat em up theory. My God though, this Kings team is loaded with friggin’ huge guys! So while the Kings tried to run the Hawks out of the UC, their keeper had to stand on his head to keep the game from being a complete rout. Final Kings comment. I am really impressed with Mike Richards game since he left Philly. That guy plays hard and seems to have left the cheap stuff out of his game. He’s a guy any team would love to have. Speaking of Philly, how can Holmgren still have a job there. Talk about wrecking a team. This guy seems to be on a mission from God to ruin that organization. Should have been fired years ago. Can you believe Schenn gets a $2000 for drilling Versteeg last week? It was a clear attempt to injure play. Suspend the guy for Chrissakes! The Flyers really suck.

    The Oduya tripping penalty looked like a hip check to me. Shaw’s penalty late was for taking a punch to the face, after a Kings player brushed up against Raanta. While I don’t have box seats, I didn’t see any finger biting and the reeplay sure didn’t show it. I will look again though since I did record the game. Would that not be a game misconduct? Shaw otherwise had a great game and made up for a dreadful showing the night before in Toronto.

    Hawks proved last night that when they concentrate and play a solid two way game, they remain the best team in hockey. I still like Morin over BB. Rozy was back in form last night. Zus still skates like he is in quicksand, and loses lots of faceoffs, but does lots of smart little things that back up a team effort. While the subject might have been beaten into the ground, I remain perplexed as to whay Versteeg does not get any PP time along with Sharpy. Versteeg by the way is looking much quicker the past 3-4 games. It will be interesting to see what lines Q rolls out once Bicks is back. Could be as early as late this week with the way it sounds since he is skating in practice.

    Raanta was excellent last night. Not sure apart from money why Khabby would get the nod over this kid who clearly loves playing and performing well in the show.

    Let’s see if the guys can bring a good effort against the Preds tomorrow.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  19. Sr. Brad says:

    Walls says that we have LAs number…and I agree that is true, and last night showed why…for all of LAs size and talent they CAN’T SKATE with the Hawks…neither can the Blues…neither can Anaheim…only COL can in the west…

    Kruger’s 4th line play was outstanding…he and Smith in particular, did a great job of controlling the puck, eating up time and even generated scoring chances…Smith was robbed a couple of times last night…

  20. Phil says:

    Sorry guys I meant Versteeg and Sharp on the penalty kill not PP….although they should be playing there regularly too.

  21. Phil says:

    In the end, when playoffs come around it is fast team which can roll 4 lines that kills. Sr Brad you are 100% right. I fear a matchup with the Av’s for that reason, but Hawks when healthy still have a better D corps than Colorado.

  22. JS says:

    I love Shaw, Brad. People just think he’s an angel that does no wrong so I felt like pointing out another borderline play. He straddles the line between dirty and physical, and the Hawks need that. And I believe the Kings broadcast showed Nolan showing the bite marks to the officials.

    I also wasn’t blaming Kostka for the loss against Toronto, but he was really really bad. He was so bad he made Leddy look bad.

    I’m also still waiting for Kane to get a goal while on the ice with Handzus. If he continues this pace with Handzus as his center, he deserves every award the NHL has for offensive players.

  23. wall says:

    Gotta luv the Post game slide at center ice by Rants!!!
    I really- hope the kid can continue being good or better than good-
    I have to think his attitude/smile/joy to be there –is noticed by the other Hawks (who could easily take for granted the Crowd/success/and Organization they are now apart of)… watching Rants- is like watching a kid open a present at X-mas… (of course the game/fans can change on you in a minute)… his excitement-kind of reminds me of Shaw’s last year. Hard to not root for him!

  24. Mike says:

    It will be interesting to see what the Hawks do with Morin once Bickell returns. I am an advocate for Morin and if they do trade him I hope it is to an EC team. So when Bickell comes back theoretically Q should be able to use Morin (and Pirri) in the line up more often to gain experience is a not so crucial a role. But I am afraid Morin will be sent down and we won’t see him or Pirri again until injuries occur. I believe in the role of the AHL. But, both of these players have reached their AHL limit and now need to grow at the NHL level.

  25. wall says:

    Guys- Kostka was horrible- (and I have liked the guy)- it was painful to watch him fumbling/bumbling vs. Leafs. His play (or lack of) made me finally understand why he hasn’t been a solid 5th guy his whole career… Up until that game- I had a hard time seeing why some other team didn’t sign the guy.

  26. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    For the longest time it was big tough teams, give the Hawks “fits”, I think for a few years that was an accurate statement. As the Hawks have evolved into a perennial contender they have showed that the big teams do give them problems but the fast skilled teams prove a bigger challenge. Think Vancouver of a few years ago, Detroit last year, and to a lesser extent think Edmonton, Avs and look at the game in Toronto. IMO it seems like the Hawks prefer that wide open game shootout. In reality when they play a defensive game and focus on turnovers, team defense and transitions they are nearly unbeatable. That’s where Coach Q comes in, when he has them focused on defense 1st there skill comes out during odd man breaks and transition. When they do that they start destroying teams then they get lose in their end and have games like Toronto. Its going to take a very very good team and hot goalie to beat them in 4 games out of 7.

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    Great fricking comments guys…there are so many knowledgeable, interesting contributors here…its always fun and educational..

    SSHM you are right…this is why Q was such a great fit for this young team back in 2009…they had all the talent but no sense of how to win…Q used his tried and true method of team defence…I find we are most lethal when we play this way…not so many cute plays per se, but odd man rushes occurring from stealing pucks away off of the backcheck…

    JS…I know your appreciation for Shaw and your deep understanding of the game, I was really just pointing out for others the often “unseen” value of Shaw…and if you look at his offensive production this season and what he does for our PP, you really have to say that Shaw is one of the most valuable players on the entire team…I always look forward to your comments…

    Mike/Wall, great comments as always…and JS, with Zus, I just don’t get Q’s desire to play him every night when he’s healthy…we watched Q platoon a superior DMan in Rozy last year with BB so that Rozy would be fresh for the playoffs…why not with the ANCIENT Handzus…as Wall said, Pirri and Morin have done all they need to in the minors…they need to play NHL games now…preferably with us, not against us…why can’t Handzus/Pirri split time (like Rozy and company) so that Handzus stays fresh and Pirri learns the NHL game??? Why can’t Morin split time with Bollig and do the same? Certainly the salary cap may prevent some of this, but not all of it…

  28. JS says:

    It’s actually incredible how good Shaw is in front of the net on the PP. There is something mentally wrong with him to take all of that abuse and keep fighting for inches, and he’s quick enough to have good retrival skills on shots that miss! As I said before, I don’t think he’s going to have a long career, but damn is he valuable to this team.

    I also have no idea why Q makes the decisions he makes. He is not a numbers guy and more of a old school “gut” guy, apparently. It’s absolutely punishing for the most electric player in the league this year to be held back with Handzus. And the PK continues to be a mess with Sharp and Versteeg on the bench… whatever. Maybe by the end of the season Bollig will be better at it.

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