So… what now for the ‘Hawks?
Corey Crawford hasn’t played since Game 2 of Chicago’s opening-round series against Nashville, when he was torched for six goals on 35 shots in a blowout loss. That, of course, came on the heels of a disappointing opener, in which he was hooked after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first period.
All told, Chicago’s No. 1 netminder for the majority of this season… has a postseason save percentage of .809.
But even after getting parked in favor of Scott Darling, Crawford remained a viable option to return — head coach Joel Quenneville said as much prior to making the switch in Game 3.
“It’s not like he’s never going to play again,” Quenneville explained, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s not like he’s discarded off the team. He’s still a part of it, he’s a big part of it.”
So if the door is open to using Crawford again, would it make sense to exercise that option in Game 6 on Saturday? After all, Darling left plenty to be desired in tonight’s 5-2 loss to Nashville.
“We’ll talk about it, but he did everything right,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. “He was fine.”
Even if you disagree with Quenneville’s assessment that Darling “did everything right,” that’s still just one bad game after three brilliant performances. At the same time, you have to ask: All things being equal, who gives Chicago the best chance to win in Game 6? Darling, who has done a great job in 2014-15, but also has just 18 regular season and playoff games under his belt, or Crawford, who has won the Stanley Cup and had a great campaign prior to his early playoff struggles?
It’s not an easy call and no matter who Quenneville picks, Blackhawks fans will likely wonder about the road not traveled if Nashville wins again on Saturday.