After getting winning back-to-back games over Nashville this weekend, Ray Emery may have kickstarted a goalie controversy in Chicago.
Prior to Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Preds — a game given to Emery after a “rock-solid” shutout on Saturday — ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t rule out the possibility of using both Emery and Corey Crawford when the playoffs arrive.
“You never know,” Quenneville told ESPN Chicago. “I don’t want to say no. We’ll see.”
Statistically speaking, there’s little separating the two this season.
Crawford has received a few more starts (23) than Emery (18), but the rest of the numbers are remarkably close:
Crawford: 15-4-4, 2.01 GAA, .922 save percentage
Emery: 14-1-0, 2.02 GAA, .920 save percentage
There’s also the not-so-small issue of Crawford’s postseason meltdown against Phoenix last year.
The 28-year-old was badly outplayed by counterpart Mike Smith in the six-game ouster, finishing with a 2.58 GAA and an ugly .893 save percentage.
Crawford admitted his confidence level was damaged at times and Quenneville seemed irate at the types of goals allowed, like this:
That was the second of two shaky OT markers Crawford surrendered to Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker.
“What can you say? Both games ended on a tough note,” Quenneville said following the second Boedker tally. “That’s a tough goal to handle.”
Though he hasn’t been to the postseason since 2010-11, Emery has a much more distinguished playoff resume than Crawford.
He backstopped Ottawa to the 2007 Stanley Cup finals and has 36 games of experience, compared with Crawford’s 14.
The idea of using two goalies come playoff time is often bandied about, but rarely implemented. Coaches often treat it like the quarterback position in football, in that they need to establish a clear starter.
Last season, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock went back and forth between Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot all season — the pair ended up winning the Jennings Trophy — before deciding to go with Halak as his starter for the playoffs.
Of course, Halak got injured two games into the opening series, forcing Elliott into action.