After two less than stellar starts by Corey Crawford, the Chicago Blackhawks gave Scott Darling the chance at his first playoff start in the NHL.
He made the most of the opportunity.
It took 35 saves, but the 33-year-old rookie (in every sense, except the NHL’s) earned his first victory as a starter, 4-2. More importantly, he helped put his team up 2-1 in the series.
Crawford has started 2 games, lost 1, has a .809 SV%, and 6.75 GAA. So, naturally Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will go ahead and name Darling the starter for Game 4, right?
HA! And no, of course not. This is Coach Q we’re talking about.
“We’ll talk about it but certainly he did everything he could to get himself back in the net,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He was rock solid today. He did everything he could to get us a win and he was square, big and controlled a lot of pucks around the net as well.”
Aside from goaltending, Chicago was led by who else but Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. Both players skated away with 2-points each in the game. Toews, Andrew Desjardins, Brandon Saad, and Brent Seabrook each scored a goal for Chicago.
It’s not going to get any easier for Nashville as they adjust to life without Shea Weber and Mike Fisher in the lineup. Seth Jones moved into the top pairing alongside Roman Josi; both of which were minus-3. Jones is good, and will probably be great one day, but for now, he’s no Shea Weber.
The Preds will lean on goaltender Pekka Rinne now more than ever. He had some pretty good saves, as is the norm, and a few really lucky ones, too.
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