CALGARY, Alberta — Johnny Oduya will play tonight and Antti Raanta gets his first NHL start when the Chicago Blackhawks face the Calgary Flames tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Oduya blocked a puck off the back of his left knee in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He finished the rest of that game, but did not practice on Tuesday. Coach Joel Quenneville said Oduya is good to go tonight, though.
Meanwhile, Raanta is finding the right balance between excitement and calm as he approaches his start tonight.
“Of course, lots of things are going on,” Raanta said. “I’ll try to get the game-day nap like a normal routine and just not think about it too much, otherwise it won’t go well. I just have to enjoy the moment and try to show everyone what I have. So this is a big day.”
The Blackhawks don’t believe in adjusting their game according to which goaltender goes for them. They just want to keep doing what they’ve done in recent games, which has yielded great results.
“Let’s make sure we play well on our own end and commit to play defensively in all zones,” Quenneville said. “Let’s play well. Have communication with (Raanta) and be good around the net as well.”
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks want to make life tougher on Calgary starter Reto Berra than the last time they saw him. Yes, they fired 44 shots at Berra, who made his NHL debut against the Blackhawks on Nov. 3. But there wasn’t much traffic and very few second-chance opportunities. The Blackhawks want to change that tonight.
“He had a great start against us, he played well. But we didn’t have the number of people in front of him we would’ve liked,” Quenneville said. “We get that quantity; we need more quality.”