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Blackhawks to give Raanta first NHL start

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks will give Antti Raanta the opportunity he's been waiting for when the Finnish rookie starts in goal Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames,

Raanta, signed during the summer, made his NHL debut on Nov. 19 when he played two-plus periods against the Colorado Avalanche in relief of starter Corey Crawford. He allowed two goals on 16 shots in 47 minutes of a 5-1 loss.

"Of course, I'm excited," he said following the Blackhawks' practice Tuesday. "Like I said after the last game, I'm just excited to be here. Now the first [start] is pretty close so it's going to be nice today and tomorrow."

Coach Joel Quenneville is eager to see what the Blackhawks have in their young goaltender.

"For sure, it's his turn. We're excited about him getting into the net," Quenneville said. "It'll be a good challenge for him, a good test."

Crawford hasn't had a complete game off since Oct. 24, when Nikolai Khabibulin lost a 6-5 shootout to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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