If the Chicago Blackhawks can continue to duplicate their most
recent efforts, they likely won’t have too many problems during
goaltender Corey Crawford’s absence.
The Blackhawks will try to keep rolling Wednesday night against
the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
Crawford is expected to sit out the next three weeks after
suffering a lower-body injury in a 6-2 win over Florida on Sunday.
Antti Raanta is expected to serve as Chicago’s No. 1 goaltender for
the near future with the team’s original backup, Nikolai
Khabibulin, still dealing with a groin injury.
Raanta allowed just one goal until the final minute of a 6-2
victory in Dallas on Tuesday. The league-leading Blackhawks
(22-6-5) helped him by limiting the Stars to only six shots in the
first 30 minutes, but Raanta had to make 14 of his 27 saves in the
“He played great,” defenseman Michael Kostka said. “He’s going
to get a lot of opportunity to continue to establish himself.”
Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad gave Raanta another boost by
scoring two goals apiece in the second period, and Patrick Kane had
three points for the second straight game. The Blackhawks also
killed off all five of their penalties for the second game in a
“Across the board contributions, it was a very good night,”
coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re busy during this stretch. It
was nice to see us play so well.”
Raanta might start the second of back-to-back games as well. If
he does, he’ll face a Flyers team that’s seeking to avoid a third
straight loss to end a six-game trek.
Philadelphia (13-14-3) earned two wins in the first three games
on that trip before getting routed 5-1 by Dallas on Saturday. The
Flyers then fell 5-4 in a shootout to Ottawa on Monday.
Kimmo Timonen scored the tying goal with 9:02 left in regulation
but all three Flyers couldn’t find the net in the tiebreaker.
With the Flyers beginning a set of back-to-back games, former
Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery might have the chance to face his
former team. Emery went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average in
21 games for Chicago last season and teamed with Crawford to win
the Jennings Trophy, given to the goaltender(s) who allow the
“Last year was definitely a memorable year and I enjoyed playing
in Chicago for two seasons, but tomorrow is just another game,”
Emery said. “I think you can’t get too caught up in past
experiences. You have to live in the moment and realize you’re
playing a good team.”
Chicago has lost its two matchups with the Flyers since beating
them in six games in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. Scott Hartnell
scored in both of those wins, and he has eight goals and six
assists in his last nine meetings with the Blackhawks, including
Kane has four goals and five assists in his last six
regular-season and playoff matchups with Philadelphia. He also has
two goals and 12 points during a six-game streak overall.
Sharp, who spent his first two seasons with the Flyers, has five
goals and three assists in his past 10 against his former team,