Antti Raanta’s first NHL game didn’t start the way he would have liked. But he’ll gladly take the finish.
Raanta gave up a goal just 83 seconds into the game, but stopped Jason Chimera, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the shootout as the Blackhawks beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Friday night at Verizon Center.
“Of course, I didn’t want to let four goals [in], but I think I learned a lot in this game and know what it’s going to take to get to the NHL, and what you have to do in games,” Raanta said. “So it was a good learning [experience], and hopefully I’ll get some games soon.”
Jonathan Toews, returning from a strained hip flexor that had sidelined him all camp, scored the lone goal in the shootout. Other than Toews, the only Hawks regulars who made the trip were Marcus Kruger, Brandon Bollig, Nick Leddy and Sheldon Brookbank.
Dylan Olsen, Jeremy Morin, Brad Winchester and Bollig scored for the Hawks. It was Bollig’s second goal in as many nights, and his third of the preseason, counting the intrasquad scrimmage Monday night.
“It’s nice that they’re going in,” said Bollig, who has never scored in a regular-season game. “I’d definitely like it to keep going in the regular season.”
Raanta, a highly touted Finnish goalie who’ll be headed to Rockford soon, made 26 saves in what is scheduled to be his only preseason appearance.
“I thought we played a good game,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Coming in here with a lineup that might have [made it] look like we were against it, we found a way to get something out of it.”
For Raanta, who struggled at times during camp while adjusting to the smaller North American rinks, as well as different pads and different defensemen in front of him, it was a valuable experience.
“Everything is new, but it’s getting better all the time,” he said. “Maybe a week or two still, and it’s going to be perfect.”
NOTEWORTHY: Mike Kostka, who was injured in the preseason opener when he was boarded by Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen, skated back in Chicago on Friday and might play either Sunday in Detroit or Monday in Pittsburgh. … Brandon Pirri (lower-body injury) also skated, but Quenneville said he likely won’t be ready by Sunday. … Andrew Shaw (lower body) is questionable for Sunday.