Konroyd's keys: Antti Raanta needs bounce-back performance

Konroyd's keys: Antti Raanta needs bounce-back performance
December 30, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Bounce back for Raanta. Not a great night for Anti Raanta on Saturday in St. Louis. He allowed five goals on 25 shots and took the loss in the shootout. Three times in the game he had a two-goal lead but was unable to make any of them stand. Two goals on just six shots in the third period was the difference in the hockey game. Raanta has shown that he can bounce back from a sub-par performance. Only one other time this year has he given up five goals (Dec. 14 vs. Toronto in 40 minutes played), and he bounced back with impressive starts against LA and Nashville, allowing just two goals combined in those games. He will need that type of focus again against the Kings.

2. Best offense vs. best defense. The Blackhawks score more goals than anyone else in the league. They have scored 20 more goals than the next closest team. The Kings have the best goals against average in the entire NHL. You have a high-octane offense that has scored 17 goals in its last three games against a team that has given up just 17 goals in its last 10 games. Something’s got to give, but one thing is for sure: The Hawks can’t give up five goals and expect to win.

3. Battle of Norris Trophy contenders. Duncan Keith is having a Norris Trophy type of season. Drew Doughty of the Kings will give him some serious competition when this award is handed out at the end of the year. Both are excellent skating defensemen who can skate or pass the puck out of trouble. Keith leads all D men in scoring and is among league leaders in assists. These two pile up serious minutes, too, with Doughty playing almost 26 minutes per game.