‘This one was easy’ — Chicago to start Crawford in Game 2


Following last night’s dramatic 4-3 double-OT win over Nashville — in which backup Scott Darling stopped 42 shots in relief of Corey Crawford, who was yanked after allowing three goals — ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville piqued interest by saying he wouldn’t name a Game 2 starter until today.

Just a short while ago, Q named his starter, and it wasn’t much of a surprise — Crawford will be back in goal on Friday, which Quenneville called an “easy” choice.

While Darling was outstanding in Game 1 — Quenneville called it “one of the greatest relief performances you’re going to see,” — Crawford has been Chicago’s unquestioned No. 1 for the last four seasons, started 57 games this year and posted solid numbers (32-30-5, 2.27 GAA, .924 save percentage).

And so he goes back in.

PHT Morning Skate: Darling delivers a belt-worthy performance


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

After a 42-save performance in relief of Corey Crawford in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators, goaltender Scott Darling received the team’s player of the game belt from captain Jonathan Toews.

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The Hockey News looks at who on each of the 16-playoff teams deserves the Stanley Cup first after commissioner Gary Bettman hands it to their respective captain. (THN)

During Wednesday night’s Binghamton Senators’ 6-5 overtime victory against the Utica Comets, Jacob Markstrom and Peter Mannino squared off in a good old goalie fight. The two combined for 36 minutes in penalties.

Patrick Kane delivers pizzas to a local Chicago fire hall as part of the Blackhawks’ “What’s your goal” contest.

After ‘one of the greatest relief performances you’re going to see,’ Quenneville mum on Game 2 starter


The last thing anybody expected out of Chicago this spring was a goaltending controversy but, after the Blackhawks’ 4-3 double-OT win over the Preds on Wednesday night, there might be one.

After Scott Darling’s 42-save relief of Corey Crawford — who was hooked after allowing three goals on 12 shots — Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville played it coy about who would start in Game 2 against Nashville.

It stands to reason that, after starting 57 games in the regular season, Crawford will be right back in on Friday in Nashville — but if that’s the case, then why the hesitation from Q? He could’ve snuffed out any potential controversy by right away confirming that Crawford’s the guy, yet chose not to. Curious decision.

Perhaps there’s more to this than just Darling’s stellar effort tonight. He was very good in a small sample size during the regular season, going 9-4-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .936 save percentage — strong enough to take the backup gig away from Antti Raanta.

“Rock solid every time he’s been in the net for us, from preseason scrimmages to exhibition games to last game (and) he did well in Rockford,” Quenneville said of Darling earlier this year, per the Tribune. “He’s played very well.”

Now, with all that said, let’s remember — Crawford’s played every playoff game for Chicago since 2011 and backstopped the ‘Hawks to a Cup in ’13, so it’ll take an awful lot to bounce him from the No. 1 gig.

But for tonight, at least, the potential is out there.

That’s Darling: Blackhawks win OT thriller against Preds


The Chicago Blackhawks edged the Nashville Predators 4-3 in double overtime in a game that had just about everything.

Most obviously, it had a huge comeback, as the Blackhawks shrugged off a 3-0 deficit after the first period to win a dramatic contest.

It also had some controversy, as Duncan Keith may have gotten away with a penalty in the first OT. He then proved to be the hero as he scored the game-winner.

Some will say this was a collapse, and to some extent, it was. Still, it’s not as if the Predators went into full turtle mode in this game. Scott Darling tormented Nashville from the moment he took over for Corey Crawford, making all 42 shots in more than three periods of dazzling work.

The Predators fired a franchise playoff-record 54 shots on goal, but only scored against Crawford. Some may be sour about this Keith non-penalty, but the bottom line is that Nashville is down 1-0.

Patrick Kane made a difference, grabbing two assists, including this impressive helper:

Losing a lengthy, fast-paced game obviously has to sting Nashville, especially since they dropped this one at home. Still, if Game 1 is any indication, this could be a first-round series for the ages.

Here’s one fearless prediction: the Predators will face Scott Darling from the first puck drop of Game 1. That’s not official, however:

In fact, maybe it should be a fearful prediction:

Either way, Darling made an impression on Wednesday.

Video: Scott Darling’s dazzling toe save

Whether Corey Crawford was pulled for performance or momentum reasons, Scott Darling has been outstanding so far in Game 1 for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Nashville Predators.

He’s made 19 out of 19 saves through regulation, including 15 as Nashville pressed hard in the third period. Darling’s toe stop may have been the most impressive moment:

Overtime is just moments away on NBCSN. You can stream it below.