Go right ahead and immediately chalk this up as another instance of over-speculation, and over-analysis due to the fallout of yet another disappointing and troubling Chicago Blackhawks loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
For the record: I DO NOT think that Ray Emery will, nor should Ray Emery get the start in Game 4 of this series. This is purely hypothetical, and a way to flush out some of the built up toxins that are ever so present following two consecutive performances from the Hawks, that could be considered of poor enough quality to drive a fan to a life of alcoholism. Plus, I’m bored, and Game 4 is still another day away(thanks, lockout!) and these fumes of negativity need to be vented now.
No question, Corey Crawford has had a fantastic season, as well as a very good first round of the playoffs. He hasn’t even played poorly in this series either. The fact of the matter is, the Hawks haven’t played well in the past 2 games, at all! It is not desperation time…yet, but with one more loss, it will be well beyond the point of desperation. So let’s examine the idea of Emery placing Crawford, now, before the possibility of Hawks fans descending into a chaotic state of desperation.
Emery’s season was on-par and arguably better than Crawford’s season, this year. In 21 games this season, Ray Emery had a win/loss record of 17-1(amazing!), a Goals Against Average of 1.94(Outstanding!), and .922 Save Percentage(Awesome!) along with 3 Shutouts(nice!). Ray has done everything that could have possibly been asked of him this season, and then some! The only reason he isn’t starting, is because Crawford had an equally(if not better) season than Emery, and has done nothing to cough up his starting job, this year.
Emery has had plenty of situation success to warrant the starting job, in this series. Against Detroit, in his career, Ray Emery has a 3-0 record, a 1.85 Goals Against Average of 1.85, and a .943 Save Percentage. On the road this season, Ray was 7-0 with a 1.64 GAA, a .938 Save%, and 2 shutouts. In the playoffs, Emery’s numbers aren’t as sparkling, but he has a solid amount of experience in the post-season. “Razor”, in 36 career playoff starts has a record of 20-15(not awful), a 2.57 GAA(meh) and a .903 Save%(not good). Overall though, looking at those split stats, Emery has done enough to have logically earned a start in this series.
Corey Crawford, however, also has done exceptionally well, if not spectacular in some of the situations where the Hawks need high-quality hockey. In his career against the Red Wings, Corey Crawford is an outstanding 11-2, with an excellent 1.82 GAA, as well as a marvelous .943 Save%. Now, Corey’s career playoff stats tell an interesting story. Lifetime, in the post-season, Crawford has had 22 starts, with a sub-par record of 10-11, a very good GAA of 2.19, and a wonderful Save% of .919%, as well as one shutout.
While Crawford has done nothing to really send himself to bench duty, there is something to be said about the fact that Crawford’s playoff record is below .500% along with some pretty solid playoff statistics(although some of the few goals he has allowed in the playoffs, especially last year against the Phoenix Coyotes, were very soft goals). This indicates that the Blackhawks haven’t played very good hockey in front of Crawford, during the playoffs. This has never been more noticeable than in Game 2 and the second half of Game 3. It could be a coincidence, but it is an interesting trend.
Again, I’m not saying that Emery should start in this series, and if it comes to that, the Hawks will most likely be in big trouble, but Emery has played well enough for the opportunity to start in this series.