ST. PAUL, Minn. – Antti Raanta had no problems shaking off what little rust he had, given this was his first appearance since facing Edmonton 11 days ago.
What he struggled to shake off was that second goal he gave up on Thursday night.
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Raanta suffered just his second regulation loss since mid-December when the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center. The loss, however, wasn’t the stinger. The Wild’s second goal, a Matt Cooke offering that beat Raanta and was ultimately the game-winner, was.
“That second goal is still inside my head,” he said. “(You have to) try to get some better way to move your ass and be in the right place in the right time.”
The Blackhawks had just come off a great penalty kill, one in which they nixed the Wild’s two minutes worth of 5-on-3. While coach Joel Quenneville said the goal was a tough one to give up, given it came not long after that kill, but he wasn’t blaming Raanta.
“It’s one of those, after the big kill, it was a deflating goal for us. But there was a lot of hockey left,” Quenneville said.
Raanta is an affable guy, one who’s endeared himself to his teammates and Blackhawks fans with his great personality. But he’s nevertheless competitive and wants to improve off every game. Raanta’s been stellar for the Blackhawks this season, and he’ll get back to that again. He just has to let that second goal go.
“Every goal counts, and today there was an easy one. Not a good thing,” Raanta said. “The second one was too easy. When they get two (goals) in the first, they’re much harder to play because their defense was so good.”