Corey Crawford took a seat from the Chicago Blackhawks bench. This was Scott Darling’s game. And, facing one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, he backstopped his team to a thrilling victory over the host New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Darling made 25 saves — and he had some luck, too — to record his first career NHL shutout, as the Blackhawks defeated the Rangers by a final score of 1-0. Brad Richards, bought out by the Rangers last June, scored the winning goal before the midway point of the third period, just seconds after New York defenseman Dan Boyle hit the cross bar at the other end.
Andrew Desjardins had an assist on the Richards goal, marking his first point with the Blackhawks since joining that team at the trade deadline.
Earlier in the game, the Rangers appeared to open the scoring, but the goal was waved off after the whistle went to stop play, even though Darling never appeared to have full control of the puck.
After two periods of tightly played hockey, the Blackhawks managed to break through in the third. They had 17 shots on New York goalie Cam Talbot in the final 20 minutes, compared to just 10 for the Rangers.
The Blackhawks have been on quite a roll since the start of March.
They’ve won six of seven games this month, and four straight, and are now three points back of St. Louis for top spot in the Central Division.
They’re also three points back of a four-way tie between Anaheim, St. Louis, New York Rangers and Montreal for top spot in the NHL.