According to head coach Joel Quenneville, the Chicago Blackhawks will be without goaltender Corey Crawford for about three weeks as he recovers from a lower-body injury sustained in Sunday's game against the Florida Panthers.
Crawford has been average this season, which hasn't hindered the Hawks too much. The injury will leave Chicago very thin in net, however. Backup goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin has been out since suffering a lower-body injury himself Nov. 16.
Now the Hawks will have to turn to rookie Antti Raanta to carry the mail in his first season in North America. The team has already recalled 21-year-old goalie prospect Kent Simpson, who has never appeared in an NHL game, from the AHL.
Raanta, who the Blackhawks signed as a free agent out of the Finnish pro ranks, has made five appearances since getting called up in the wake of Khabibulin's injury. He has performed well with a 3-0-1 record, .922 save percentage and 2.16 goals-against average in 278 minutes. The 24-year-old was the top goalie in the SM-liiga last season.
For Crawford, the injury is another setback in what has been a somewhat underwhelming season. After such a tremendous performance in the postseason last year, Crawford leads the league in wins with 17, but has a .907 save percentage, which ranks 31st in the NHL.
The 28-year-old has appeared in 27 games this year and signed a six-year, $36 million extension with Chicago in the offseason. The new deal kicks in next year.