By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Leading 3-2 in their first-round playoff series against the Predators, the Blackhawks will stick with Scott Darling as their starting goalie for Game 6 on Saturday at the United Center, coach Joel Quenneville said Friday afternoon.
A 26-year-old rookie, Darling will remain in net after splendid play in Game 1, solid wins in Game 3 and Game 4 and then a mediocre Game 5 performance, which came Thursday night in a 5-2 loss in Nashville in which he allowed four goals on 28 shots. That raised the question as to whether Quenneville would go back to Corey Crawford, who was the team’s No. 1 goalie all season, but Quenneville chose to go with the steadier performer to date in the postseason over the Stanley Cup-winning goalie of 2013.
“We’re comfortable that Scott’s going to get the job done,” Quenneville said.
When asked if this series and a potential Game 7 would be left in Darling’s hands, Quenneville didn’t go in depth.
“He’s playing tomorrow,” Quenneville said. “We’re thinking about tomorrow’s game.”
Darling has a 1.68 goals against average and .950 save percentage this postseason. including a Game 1 relief performance in which he stopped all 42 shots he faced. In playing four periods in these playoffs, Crawford has a 6.75 goals against average and .809 save percentage, allowing nine goals on 47 shots.
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.