By Chris Emma-
(CBS) The Blackhawks will start Corey Crawford in goal in Game 2 against the Nashville Predators on Friday night, coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday.
“This was easy,” Quenneville said of the decision.
The decision became a topic of discussion after reserve Scott Darling stopped all 42 shots he saw in relief of Crawford in a come-from-behind 4-3 double-overtime win in Game 1 on Wednesday night. Crawford allowed three goals on 12 shots in the first period before he was pulled, though his defense had some letdowns in front of him as well.
Perhaps the most relieved Blackhawk after the victory was Crawford, whose struggles were bailed out by Darling’s stellar performance.
“I kind of got a free pass off it,” said Crawford.
Game 1 marked the first time that Quenneville has ever pulled Crawford from a playoff game, a move he said was made to change the game’s momentum. However, going back to Crawford for Game 2 was not a difficult decision.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer,” said Quenneville.
In the regular season, Crawford was 32-20-5 with a 2.27 goals against average and .924 save percentage. Darling was 9-4-0 with a 1.95 goals against average and .936 save percentage.
Of Darling’s magnificent Game 1 performance, Quenneville said after Game 1, “That’s one of the greatest relief performances you’re going to see.”
Quenneville also said that lineup changes for Game 2 are “not likely.” Puck drop is set for Friday at 8:30 CT in Nashville.