The Chicago Blackhawks have made a goaltending change.
On Monday, head coach Joel Quenneville announced that Corey Crawford would be the Game 1 starter when Chicago opens its second-round series against the Wild. The development comes after a tumultuous series against Nashville, in which Crawford opened as the starter, lost his gig to backup Scott Darling, then reclaimed the No. 1 job in the deciding Game 6 — after Darling was yanked following three goals allowed on 12 shots.
“It’s his net,” Quenneville said of Crawford, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Let’s go.”
Part of Q’s decision to go back to Crawford could stem from last year’s second-round win over Minnesota, in which the veteran netminder played very well. Crawford stopped 150 of 162 shots faced in the six-game victory — a solid .926 save percentage — and was at his very best in the final two games, allowing just two goals on 67 shots (Chicago won both by 2-1 scores.)
It’s also possible some of Darling’s weaknesses were exposed as the Nashville series progressed. While he started brilliantly, stopping 127 of 131 shots, Darling proceeded to allow seven goals on 40 shots over his final two appearances.