Who’s hot: Tanner Kero
This is a pleasant surprise. Kero potted all three of his points against the Avalanche, but he worked hard for them.
On his first goal of the night, the Blackhawks had just gone down 3-2 in the second period. Trevor van Riemsdyk got the puck at the point, waited and flung it on net. Kero and Vincent Hinostroza got net-front presence, and it was Kero who swatted the puck past Semyon Varlamov to tie the game 19 seconds after Chicago had gone behind.
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Kero then netted the primary assist on the eventual game-winning goal, scored by Hinostroza in the third period. After starting the play by winning a faceoff and moving the puck through the neutral zone, Kero jumped all over a puck freed up by Marian Hossa, then flung it perfectly to a streaking Hinostroza, who just had to tap it past Varlamov.
Kero then tried to set up Jonathan Toews for an empty-net goal late, but the captain rewarded a hard night’s work for Kero by flipping the puck to his younger teammate to ice the game.
Nice performance from Kero, who’s been very reliable on the penalty kill and as a bottom-six forward since his call-up.
Who’s not: Corey Crawford
I dislike putting Crow in any “not doing well” areas of posts because it gives the small-but-rabid part of the fan base fuel to trade him to a team in Siberia. But while Crow didn’t always receive much help from his teammates on defense in the last three games, he also just had some rough outings.
Crow was on the ice for 12 of 13 goals against across the previous three games for an ugly .859/4.32 stat mark. I actually thought Darling would get the call Tuesday to give Crow some time to clear his mind, but coach Joel Quenneville went with the “get back on the horse” theory.
It worked for two periods against the Avs, but a really rough second period marred Crow’s stats in a win. He’s just not making all the stops we’ve grown accustomed to seeing him make.
It’s more likely a product of January just being a slow month for the Blackhawks in general and maybe a product of his appendectomy. A few starts for Darling here and there might be good for Crow’s health. (And as I wrote this, Darling was announced as Friday’s starter against Boston.)