Blackhawks Annti Raanta set to start against Devils

Blackhawks Annti Raanta set to start against Devils
January 3, 2014, 4:45 pm
Share This Post

By Christian Arnold

NEWARK, N.J. – The Blackhawks are looking to wrap up their quick swing through the New York area with a win Friday night over the New Jersey Devils.

Antti Raanta will start for the Blackhawks. He is 10-1-3 this season and had 10-straight games prior to Corey Crawford’s return last night.

The last time Chicago saw the Devils was December 23, when they defeated them 5-2 at United Center. Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville is expecting a tough matchup with the Devils Friday night though.

“We expect a much dangerous team than we saw in Chicago,” he said. “They play a smart positional game. They’re in the right areas and they’re strong in the puck area. I think they’ve got some guys that can make plays and their experience is dangerous.”

[RELATED: Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Devils] 

The Devils enter Friday’s game fresh off a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. New Jersey is 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.

Blackhawks Filled with Stars

The NHL announced their three stars of the month and rookie of the month, both of which included Blackhawks.

Patrick Kane, and his league lead 16 assists and 23 points, were named first star of the month. Raanta was named co-rookie of the month. He posted a .912 save percentage and had 2.23 goals against average.

“Both guys had great stretches of games,” Quenneville said. “I think Antti coming in, and doing what he did, was very remarkable. It put us in a good spot as a team as well.

“Great for him and good start to his career. And Kaner has had a great year.”

Quenneville Happier With PK Unit

The Blackhawks penalty kill unit has gone 22 in their last 24 chances, a fact that has Quenneville pleased.

The unit came up big during Thursday night’s game in Uniondale. The Blackhawks killed off both of the Isles power play chances, which included a late boarding call on Andrew Shaw.

“Much better and I know we haven’t had a lot of opportunities against us in games,” he said. I think those are critical moments, so killing them is important to the outcome and I just thought there was a little more continuity.”

Let It Snow

Along with the Blackhawks, a blizzard arrived in the New York area. While the Blackhawks played the Islanders, a winter storm struck leaving nearly an inch on Long Island when it was over. Newark, New Jersey, the site of Friday’s game, got 8.5 inches.