The Chicago Blackhawks will switch up their starting goaltenders ahead of the All-Star break
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that Scott Darling will be making the start against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at the United Center. This will be the last Blackhawks’ game before the All-Star break.
Darling getting the start is due to his impressive play in his last two starts and Corey Crawford‘s less than stellar play recently.
Since returning from his appendectomy, Crawford has seen his fair share of struggles. In Crawford’s last five starts, he is 2-3 while allowing 18 goals on 148 shots. His save percentages in those contests were not impressive.
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He had an .833 mark in the 6-0 loss to the Capitals on Jan. 13. He posted a .906 mark in the loss to the Wild two days later.
He followed that with an .826 save percentage against Colorado on Jan. 17. Coach Joel Quenneville said he thought about pulling Crow in that game, though the Blackhawks eventually won 6-4.
Against Vancouver was his best start with .929 save percentage in the win. In his last start, he had .886 save percentage and give three goals in the third period against Tampa Bay.
So you can see why Darling might be getting the start outside of his own successes.
Darling has been really good this year
Coach Quenneville told the media Wednesday that Darling earned this start:
"“Darls earned the start based on how well he played the other day in Boston,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Wednesday’s practice. “Crow’s last game was something that gives us some consideration based on Darls’ last game. Put it all together, and that’s where we’re at.”Live Feed chicago blackhawksChicago Blackhawks: Another bad trade is showing itselfDa Windy CityChicago Blackhawks: DeBrincat and Kane are magical in OTDa Windy City2 new Chicago Blackhawks players to be thankful for in 2021Da Windy CityChicago Blackhawks: Calgary was a tough way to end the tripDa Windy CityChicago Blackhawks: 1 player to keep an eye on in CalgaryDa Windy CityChicago Blackhawks: Marc-Andre Fleury saves the day in winDa Windy City"
Darling’s last game that Quenneville referred to was a 1-0 shutout of the Boston Bruins on Friday.
Darling has saved 69 of the last 70 shots he has faced. He has proven that he can put together good stretches of hockey.
When Darling filled in for Crawford, he had five wins in a row before wearing down. He might not be ready to be an NHL starter, but he can be really good at times.
On the year, Darling is 12-4-2 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average.
The Blackhawks have the luxury of giving Darling more starts because of the way he has been playing. This move to give Darling a start is not out of necessity. The Blackhawks are not like division rival St. Louis Blues, who have to rotate between bad Carter Hutton (13-7-6 .901 save percentage, 2.63 goals-against average) and worse Jake Allen (17-12-1, .897 save percentage, 2.85 goals-against average).
This night off could let Crawford rest physically and give him some mental rest. It can also prove to other NHL teams that maybe Darling should be on their radar after this season. Darling is an unrestricted free agent after this year.