Crawford was ‘a little pissed off at first’ with Darling starting

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With Scott Darling making his fourth straight start tonight when the Blackhawks play host to the Nashville Predators in Game 6, Corey Crawford was asked how he’s dealing with the situation.

“(I was) a little pissed off at first,” he told Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus. “It’s only natural. I think that’s a good thing. It shows I want to play.

“We’re up in the series, so life’s good.”

Crawford allowed three goals on 12 shots and was replaced by Darling in Game 1. Darling made 42 saves in the double-overtime victory. Crawford then started Game 2 and made 29 saves in a 6-2 loss.

The 30-year-old is 0-1 with a 6.75 G.A.A. and an .809 save percentage.

“Crow’s a good guy, a good teammate, a good pro,” said Joel Quenneville. “I’m sure he wants to play in the worst way.”

Darling is 3-1 in the series to go along with a 1.73 G.A.A. and a .950 save percentage.

Blackhawks make line changes ahead of Game 6

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The Chicago Blackhawks have another chance to close out their first round series with the Nashville Predators tonight at the United Center.

Head coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lines slightly at the team’s morning skate.

Kris Versteeg will move up to the Hawks’ second line alongside Brad Richards and Patrick Kane. Bryan Bickell moves down to play with Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp.

“They’re both useful options with that [second] line,” said Quenneville.

Versteeg has a goal in the first five games of the series while Bickell has two assists and eight penalty minutes in the five games.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for today

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A quick look at what games will be on what channels in today’s Stanley Cup playoff action…

Capitals at Islanders, 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC

Saturday could mark the final NHL game at Nassau Coliseum. The New York Islanders are on the brink of elimination following a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 5 on Thursday night. New York’s offense has dried up. After scoring seven goals in the first two games in the series, the Islanders have just four goals in three games. Washington starter Braden Holtby has stopped 98 of 102 Islanders shots after missing Game 2 due to illness. Chris Cuthbert and Joe Micheletti will have the call of Game 6.

Red Wings at Lightning, 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Tampa Bay will look took to take a 3-2 series lead after erasing a 2-0 deficit in Game 4 to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on Thursday tying the series 2-2. Bolts forward Tyler Johnson has four goals and an assist through the first four games of the series picking up the slack for captain Steven Stamkos, who has just two assists in the series. John Forslund and Andy Brickley have the call of Game 5.

Predators at Blackhawks, 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC

The Nashville Predators will look to stave off elimination once again tonight as the series shifts back to Chicago’s United Center for Game 6. The Preds will be without captain Shea Weber for the remainder of the series due to a lower body injury. Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling gets the start tonight as Chicago looks to advance to the second round for a third consecutive season. Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire are on the call.

Canucks at Flames, 9:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Like the Preds, the Vancouver Canucks will need to win on the road tonight to stave off elimination and force a Game 7. The Calgary Flames are looking to advance to the second round for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. With their loss in Game 5, the Flames have lost six straight games when they’ve had an opponent on the brink of elimination. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake will have the call of Game 6.

Chicago to start Darling in Game 6

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There will not be another goalie switch from the Blackhawks — at least not for now.

On Friday, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville confirmed he’d be sticking with Scott Darling as his No. 1 when the ‘Hawks host the Predators in Game 6 of their opening-round series on Saturday. Darling, who took over starting duties from Corey Crawford in Game 3, suffered his first playoff loss in Thursday’s 5-2 defeat in Nashville, and questions were asked if Darling would return to the ‘Hawks goal after allowing three goals in three minutes to start the third period.

That Q is sticking with Darling shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He said the 26-year-old “did everything right,” last night, adding the performance was “fine.” That said, some that saw this as an opportunity to give the crease back to Crawford, who’s been the Blackhawks’ playoff starter for the majority of the last four years and backstopped them to the Stanley Cup in 2013.

Quenneville had previously left the door open for Crawford’s return.

“It’s not like he’s never going to play again,” Quenneville explained prior to Game 3, 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.”

Chicago ‘will talk about’ Game 6 starter

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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.