By Chris Kuc
Right around the time Antti Raanta checked into his hotel room in mid-November, it struck the Blackhawks goaltender that he would made his NHL debut against the Avalanche in the Mile High City.
“I remembered (Tuesday), when we came here,” Raanta said. “Same hotel and I think the same hotel room. Everything came to my mind.”
Raanta made some more memories against the Avs on Wednesday night, though they weren’t all that pleasant as the rookie suffered the loss as the Hawks fell 3-2 in an entertaining contest at the Pepsi Center. It marked the fourth time in five meetings this season the Avs have defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and an assist, Brad Malone also scored and netminder Semyon Varlamov made the goals stand up as the Avalanche vaulted over the Hawks into second place in the Central Division with 91 points.
Patrick Kane scored a highlight-reel goal and Brandon Saad found the back of the net late for the Hawks but it wasn’t enough ass Raanta dropped to 12-3-3 on the season. With the teams currently locked into second and third in the division, the game was a possible first-round playoff series preview.