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Crawford out with upper-body injury

by Brian Hedger / Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Just as they're about to get forward Kris Versteeg back, the Chicago Blackhawks lost another important puzzle piece Tuesday in goalie Corey Crawford.

Crawford, who started Chicago's first four games, is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that will cause him to miss a game Tuesday at United Center against the Philadelphia Flyers (8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Backup Antti Raanta will make his season debut, while 25-year-old Scott Darling was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League to be the backup.

"He didn't feel great [Monday after practice], it was bothering him, and this morning it got a little worse," Quenneville said of Crawford. "I don't think it was a defining blow [that caused it]."

Quenneville said he doesn't the injury to become a long-term situation. Raanta didn't find out until Tuesday, when he stepped onto the ice for the morning skate at United Center.

After posting a 13-5-4 record with a 2.71 goals-against average and .897 save percentage last season as a rookie, Raanta is eager to get his second season in the NHL officially started.

"You try to be ready every day because you never know what's going to be going on in here," Raanta said. "Of course it's a little bit different morning when you come up here and you hear that you're going to play. [But] I feel good and I'm ready to go."

Following practice Monday, Quenneville said the plan for Raanta was to get his first start this weekend in the Blackhawks' first back-to-back set. Now there's a possibility he could get a couple starts this week.

Raanta made his biggest impact early last season amid injuries to Crawford and veteran backup Nikolai Khabibulin. In his first 17 games he went 12-1-3 with a 2.17 GAA and .911 save percentage. But his success rate dropped considerably after winning the backup job and sitting for long stretches.

A small amount of games for the Blackhawks in this season's first two weeks allowed Quenneville to start Crawford exclusively, which led to questions about Raanta's debut and playing time. Those questions were answered Tuesday.

"We've got a chance to play [him]," Quenneville said of Raanta. "I know everybody's asking, 'When are you going to play him? When's Antti going to get to play?' And I said [Monday] that things change quickly. I didn't think it was going to be that quick, but here he is."

Versteeg also will make his season debut.

After incurring a lower-body injury during a practice shortly before the season started, the 28-year old is eager to put a strong offseason to good use. The Blackhawks acquired him in a November 2013 trade, but Versteeg struggled to regain his top form in his first season following major knee surgery.

His speed is back now and his motivation is high.

"I've done a lot in my career with proving people wrong," said Versteeg, who likely will start at left wing on the second line. "It's now to prove people right. I know the people that have put their trust in me and believe I can play. It's now about proving those people right that I can go out there and compete and be a good asset for them."

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