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Raanta: You Win More, You Play More

Goaltender looking for strong start to second season in New York

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said on Thursday that he'd ideally like to limit Henrik Lundqvist's workload to between 50 and 58 games this upcoming season to keep the goalie fresh for the playoffs.

By limiting Lundqvist's workload, it in turn increases the games for backup goalie Antti Raanta.

Raanta said he's looking forward to taking on more games, but knows that his spot on the roster won't guarantee more games, but rather his play when called upon in games and what he does between them at practice.

"You want to get a little more games," Raanta told reporters Saturday at Training Camp. "Of course the main thing is you have to win those games. You don't deserve any more starts if you can't help the team win, so I just have to go one day at a time, one game at a time [and] don't think about how many games I'm going to get. 

"I think if you just play good enough and you work hard in practice," Raanta added, "you will get the chances to help the team get the wins."

Raanta appeared in 25 games - 18 starts - for New York last season, partly due to an injury he sustained in December that limited him to just one appearance in a month. But Raanta was excellent over his final eight starts, going 7-1 to help the Rangers qualify for the postseason. All told, Raanta went 11-6-2 with a 2.24 goals against average and a .919 save percentage with one shutout in his first season in New York.

Can that strong finish carry over into a new season?

"It's always a little bit of a fresh start, but I've been talking with [Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire] already that we're going to look at the tapes from last year and [see] what we did right and the one thing I was keeping in my mind the whole summer was that I want to come back as strong as I finished last season."

Goaltenders are known as creatures of habit, but Raanta opted to change some things up over the summer. The 27-year-old said he worked on his foot speed and skated more than he has in years past, and the early returns have been positive.

"I feel really good on the ice," Raanta said. "Everything is good. Just trying to find the rhythm with [my] moves and locating the puck and I think everything is going to be OK after that."

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