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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 27th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (17-4-4) at Calgary Flames (8-11-4), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Three weeks ago, Calgary Flames goaltender Reto Berra made his NHL debut and picked up a big victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
It has been a continued struggle for the Flames since, but they'll try to make it two victories in a row on Wednesday night when they take on a Blackhawks club that is slated to give Antti Raanta his first career start.
Berra was thrown into the Flames' goaltending mix on Nov. 3 and stopped 42 of the 44 shots he faced in a 3-2 overtime victory. He earned the triumph when Kris Russell scored 1:32 into the bonus frame.
"Honestly I had a lot of thoughts," Berra said of the time leading up to his debut. "Everything went through my mind. Right after lunch I always sleep, but today I couldn't sleep. I was really nervous, but right before the game, when I was just sitting in here, I just thought, 'Go out and play your game and have fun. You have nothing to lose.' I put the excitement and the nerves into a positive energy."
Berra's efforts helped the Flames snap a three-game series slide to the Blackhawks. He'll get the call again tonight with Calgary looking to win for just the fifth time in the last 13 encounters at home.
Berra will make his 10th start in 11 games tonight since joining the Flames and helped the club to just its second victory in nine games with Friday's 4-3 shootout decision over the Florida Panthers. Berra made 23 saves and Sean Monahan had the clincher in the sixth-round of the tiebreaker.
Joe Colborne had a goal and an assist for Calgary, while Sven Baertschi and Blair Jones also lit the lamp in a game the Flames won despite blowing a 3-1 third-period lead.
"We made it too interesting in the third period, but we found a way to win," Flames head coach Bob Hartley remarked.
Calgary snapped a six-game home slide (0-4-2), but is likely to be without forward T.J. Galiardi tonight after he exited practice on Monday with back spasms.
The Blackhawks have hit few bumps like the one against the Flames as they lead the NHL with 38 points. They have won three in a row since dropping the opener of their seven-game homestand last Tuesday in Colorado and are coming off Monday's 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Jonathan Toews had a short-handed goal and Patrick Kane scored on the power play during a three-minute span in the first period, while Andrew Shaw added two goals and an assist.
"Every game is a new challenge. Getting up early was the key," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. "Obviously the short-handed goal was big for us. It really put us in a good spot."
Corey Crawford made 24 saves -- including 11 in the third period -- for his NHL-leading 16th win.
Crawford is expected to get the night off, giving the 24-year-old Raanta his first NHL start. The Finnish rookie has been serving as the backup with Nikolai Khabibulin injured and made his NHL debut in the loss to Colorado, stopping 14-of-16 shots in 47 minutes of relief.
Both Kane and Marian Hossa scored earlier this season versus the Flames. That was part of Kane's current 11-game point streak in which he has totaled six goals and nine assists.
Hossa, meanwhile, has rejoined the Blackhawks after missing the previous two games due to personal reasons.
11/27 10:55:56 ET
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