Brian’s Pad of Week: Blackhawks Antti Raanta
The Brian’s Pad of the Week is back, and what better way to return than to honour the first two NHL starts – and first two NHL wins – for Antti Raanta of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Raanta, who wears the new Brian’s SubZero Pro2 line that debuted at InGoal Magazine last month, overcame some game-day jitters to make 20 saves in a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames in his first NHL start on Thursday, earning praise from his Blackhawks teammates.
“He played great,” Patrick Kane, who scored the winning goal with 18 seconds left, told the Chicago Sun-Times of Raanta. “Both goals, he didn’t really have a chance on. He made numerous saves that he’s not really expected to make, but at the same time, he made them. So they were big for us.”
Raanta followed that up by stopping 31 of 33 in a 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. The 24-year-old, whose game was profiled by Justin Goldman at InGoal before the season, has made a solid impression in his first NHL season since coming over from Finland.
“I like his patience in the net,” coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago after the win over the Coyotes. “He’s very good, has some good personality in the room, and he fit in immediately with the players, even in training camp. … He’s a likeable kid. But he does have that patience and poise in the net. He doesn’t get rattled, waits for the puck to come and does his thing.”
Raanta, who was called up from the AHL on Nov. 17 after Nikolai Khabibulin was injured, does it in stock 34+1 SubZero Pro2 pads. InGoal photographer Clint Trahan captured some images of the goalie at work in his Brian’s gear during warm ups prior to a recent Blackhawks game in Vancouver: