Feb 27, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks beat the New York Rangers 1-0 this past Wednesday night, and I immediately got a text from my dear friend. “Chewie got a shutout!, she said. “He played like the force was with him!” When netminder Scott Darling first started with the Hawks earlier in the season, I make a reference to how huge he looked in the net. After all, the Lemont, Illinois native is 6’6″ and 232 lbs. I called him “Chewbacca between the pipes”. Well apparently this reference stuck, for Beth at least. She loves her goalies, be it Corey Crawford, Scott Darling, or Antti Raanta. It doesn’t really matter to her. So if we can call Crawford “Crow”, why can’t we call Scott Darling “Chewie”?
Scott Darling got the nod this past Wednesday night against the Rangers, as Corey Crawford played on Tuesday night, and Coach Q didn’t want him to play in back to back games. Darling hadn’t seen game action since February 27th, when he suited up against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was also to relieve Crawford of another back to back. Darling didn’t have the best of luck against the Lightning; he gave up 4 goals. But the team didn’t play very well in front of him, so he shouldn’t shoulder all the blame.
Wednesday night was a different story. One might expect Darling to be a bit rusty after not playing for almost 3 weeks. But Chewie was up to the task. He stopped 25 shots and got his first shutout of his NHL career. When asked how he felt about things after the game, the bearded giant had this to say. “One of the most famous arenas in the world, against one of the most iconic jerseys there is, and an Original 6 match up on NBC Sports Network. You can’t really ask for much more.” Well said Darling.
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This was Darling’s 10th game played with the Blackhawks, as well as in his NHL career. His record is 7 wins and 3 losses. Overall, he sports a .936 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average. These are pretty impressive numbers. A back up goaltender has a tough assignment. He has to go without playing for extended periods of time, and then be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Well so far Chewie has done a very admirable job with his role for the Chicago Blackhawks. There are 2 more back to back games in the upcoming schedule, as well as a match up every other day during the last week of the season. Expect to see Scott Darling again.
One final note; how about that Brad Richards? This was the first time he played in Madison Square Garden as a Chicago Blackhawk. His last showing at this stadium was as a Ranger, when they competed in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Well, the Hawks have brought him over from the dark side, because he scored the only goal late in the third period. It must have been a pretty special feeling to score the game winning goal against your old team in your house.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on a role. They have won 8 of their last 10 games, all without Patrick Kane. They seem to be putting everything together. The goals and coming, and they are shutting down their opponents. Next stop? The Dallas Stars on Saturday night. May the force be with them!
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