Blackhawks trade for goalie, fall to Maple Leafs
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter December 14, 2013 8:48PM
Updated: December 14, 2013 11:53PM
TORONTO — Just hours before Antti Raanta’s first bad game as an NHL goalie, the Blackhawks made a move to get him some help.
The Hawks acquired journeyman goalie Jason LaBarbera from the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, shortly before they were pounded by the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 in one of their worst performances of the season.
LaBarbera initially was assigned to Rockford, and coach Joel Quenneville said he won’t play when the Los Angeles Kings — who have won six in a row — visit the United Center on Sunday in a rematch of the Western Conference finals from last season. So Raanta is likely to start yet again, meaning his next big challenge is to bounce back from his first poor NHL effort.
‘‘Every time when you play a bad game, it’s how you come back and what you do after the bad game,’’ said Raanta, who said his job status after the trade was the ‘‘last thing I’m thinking about.’’
The Oilers officially dealt LaBarbera to the Hawks for future considerations, but a source said they aren’t expecting anything in return, other than the Hawks taking what’s left of LaBarbera’s one-year, $1 million contract. The Hawks aren’t obligated to send anyone to the Oilers.
LaBarbera, 33, was 1-3-0 with a 3.28 goals-against average and an .870 save percentage in seven games with the Oilers this season. He has played in 182 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes and Oilers, going 60-73-19 with a 2.86 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
Raanta, who had been so solid since Corey Crawford suffered a groin injury last Sunday, lasted only two periods against the Maple Leafs, giving up five goals on 25 shots for the first regulation loss of his NHL career (5-1-1). Rookie Kent Simpson came in for the third period, giving up a goal to Joffrey Lupul on the first NHL shot he faced. Simpson finished with five saves on seven shots.
‘‘Just a couple of bad goals, and that’s it,’’ Raanta said. ‘‘There was good stuff also, but if you let five goals in in two periods, it’s always bad.’’
Peter Holland and Lupul each scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who scored four goals in the second period and had two power-play goals. Patrick Kane scored twice for the Hawks.
The Hawks were coming off three consecutive blowouts, having scored six, six and seven goals along the way. Quenneville said the Hawks were trying to play ‘‘pond hockey.’’
‘‘We were probably looking for an easy game, thinking you’re going to score six goals a night,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s not going to happen in this league. We got a lot of fortunate goals over that stretch. We let our guard down tonight, and we got what we deserved.’’