Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia was outstanding last night as he made history with a win over the Minnesota Wild.
Of every rookie Chicago Blackhawks goaltender dating back to 1955-56, only five of them have made 46+ saves in a game during their rookie season. Last night, Collin Delia became one of them as he stopped 46 of 48 shots on goal in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. If you’re curious, here’s the official list:
- 50 – Darren Pang (Nov. 27, 1987)
- 48 – Bob Janecyk (Feb. 29, 1984)
- 48 – Darren Pang (Jan. 23, 1988)
- 46 – Michael Leighton (March 17, 2004)
- 46 – Collin Delia (Dec. 27, 2018)
Prior to the game, I wrote about Collin Delia being the key to the Chicago Blackhawks beating the Minnesota Wild. His 46 save, .958 SV% performance looks to have proved me right (we all get lucky sometimes, right?)
Delia earned a first star nod and cheers from the entire United Center on multiple occasions. Fans have been pulling for Delia to get a real chance while Corey Crawford recovers from a concussion. After stopping the first 81 of 83 shots he’s faced this season, he just might have earned that opportunity.
Jeremy Colliton stated that from here on out goaltending decisions between Cam Ward and Delia will be made based on performance. If that’s the case, Delia has given the Hawks no reason to remove him from the net after two back-to-back outstanding performances in goal (hello, Delia’s Winter Classic pads).
Here’s Colliton on Delia’s performance:
"“Can’t say I’m that surprised that he’s performed as he has,” said Colliton after beating Minnesota on Thursday. “He’s very self-aware, and I think he built up a lot of confidence last season, that he was capable and he could go through tough times and he could go through adversity and it’s not going to bother him. So he had played a game or two last year and so he’s ready. It’s fun to watch and he’s been good for us."
“Good for us” is an understatement.
Minnesota kept Delia busy with those 46 shots and those weren’t exactly hockey’s version of the Sunday-hop, either.
26 Wild shots were deemed scoring chances while 8 of them were high danger. The heat map tells the true story for me as Minnesota generated a lot of shots of good scoring areas of the ice.
Delia was unbothered.
His consecutive spectacular starts weren’t surprising for Colliton, and they probably shouldn’t have been for us, either. For the Rockford IceHogs this year Delia posted the best save percentage in the AHL (.933%) while winning the starting the position which was originally meant for Anton Forsberg.
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If he continues to play at this level, he could force the Chicago Blackhawks into making an interesting decision upon Corey Crawford’s return to the ice. Or, if Crawford’s situation takes a turn for the worse, the Blackhawks just might have found the answer to their goaltending woes.
Regardless, Delia’s historic win against the Wild is yet another glimpse at just how much potential the 24-year old rookie has.