The New York Rangers only face the Chicago Blackhawks twice this season, and now both times feature Antti Raanta in net, as the Blueshirts complete their set against their Original 6 companions on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden (7:00, MSG+/NBCSN).
The annual set will be wrapped up in less than a week, as the Rangers (20-9-1) previously faced Chicago on Friday night at United Center, a 1-0 overtime victory for New York. In between, the Rangers faced divisional foe New Jersey, and picked up a 5-0 victory on Sunday night, with Raanta posting his second consecutive shutout, making 19 saves in the victorious effort. Five different Rangers scored goals, the most notable of which was the third, as Brady Skjei put in his first career NHL goal in the late stages of the second period. Chris Kreider, Bradon Pirri and Jimmy Vesey also added goals, and JT Miller added one more on a shorthanded opportunity.
The Blackhawks (18-8-4) also had a game in the interim, coming back from an early 1-0 deficit on Sunday to top the Dallas Stars by a 3-1 final. Marian Hossa tied things up less than a minute after Dallas went up, before ex-Ranger Artem Anisimov gave Chicago the lead on an unassisted score. Atremi Panarin added the last goal in the third on a power play.
Splitting their season series last season, the Rangers and Blackhawks played a scoreless tie for three periods in their Chicago-hosted matchup on Friday night, with Raanta and fellow backup Scott Darling stopping the numerous attempt of their high quality offense opponents. When the 3-on-3 overtime period arrived, it took the Rangers just one shot to wrap things up, as Nick Holden, coming off the bench to start a shift, put one past Darling for the the victory.
Making his fourth start in a row, Raanta currently has an active shutout streak of 151:04, dating back to Thursday night’s game in Winnipeg. He also, with the Sunday night shutout over New Jersey, became the first Rangers goaltender to post back-to-back shutouts since Mike Dunham accomplished the feat in 2003.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490