CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks lost No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford to a lower-body injury three weeks ago, forcing the Stanley Cup champions to hand the net over to an untested rookie from Finland.
The Blackhawks had no idea what they had in Antti Raanta. They hoped for the best, and they got it.
Raanta made 26 saves in his first NHL shutout, Brandon Saad scored in the first period, and Chicago beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Monday night, sending the Kings to their first three-game losing streak in nearly a year.
"There was only one goal for us, so I knew if we wanted to win the game, I had to stop all the pucks," Raanta said. "I thought about it maybe the last two or three minutes."
With Crawford nearing a return, Raanta improved to 10-1-3 while bouncing back from one of his worst performances. He allowed two late goals in Chicago's 6-5 shootout loss at St. Louis on Saturday.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was non-committal when asked about the team's goalies after Crawford returns. But it is hard to imagine Raanta returning to the minors after the impressive start to this NHL career.
"It's a nice situation," Quenneville said. "He really, really helped solidify something that looked a little bit concerning at that time."
Saad scored his sixth goal in his last 11 games. Chicago, which leads the NHL with 158 goals, played its lowest-scoring game since a 2-1 shootout win at Dallas on Nov. 29.
Los Angeles' Martin Jones made 29 saves in his second straight loss after beginning his career with eight consecutive wins, tying the NHL record.
The Kings, who have yielded a league-low 80 goals, played a tough, physical game after losses to Dallas and Nashville. But they are on their first three-game slide since dropping the opening three games of last season in January.
"We had our chances. They had some chances," Kings center Mike Richards said. "We just didn't capitalize on our looks at the net."
Chicago forward Patrick Kane had a career-best point streak snapped at 14 games. He had eight goals and 17 assists in the surge.
Last season's Western Conference finalists faced off for the second time this season. The Blackhawks scored three first-period goals, and Raanta made 21 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Kings on Dec. 15.