Chicago Blackhawks: Has Corey Crawford Reclaimed the Starting Goalie Spot?

Michael Gibbons@DachicagofanCorrespondent IIMarch 14, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 29: Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks (L), who started the game in goal, congratulates Ray Emery #30 who played the second and thrid periods against of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the United Center on February 29, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Maple Leafs 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Things were not looking good early Tuesday for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Goaltender Ray Emery, who had made the last five starts, gave up three goals on only six shots in the first period.

Well, then, Corey Crawford to the rescue, just like it was Emery to the rescue previously.

Crawford came in and shut down the visiting St. Louis Blues, stopping all 18 shots he faced, and then stopping all three shootout attempts. Not bad for a guy who looked like he lost his job two weeks ago against Toronto.

Against Toronto on February 29, the Leafs scored three goals on 10 shots against Crawford in the first. Exactly like Tuesday, coach Joel Quenneville made a goalie change between periods and it paid off.

That was the last we saw of Crawford and it looked like Emery had probably locked up the job heading into the playoffs. What a difference a period can make.

Now, with Crawford's big comeback victory, the question of who will be the goaltender come playoff time is back on the table.

I would expect Crawford to get the next start, and interestingly enough, it is a potential playoff preview against the Dallas Stars. As it stands right now, the Hawks find themselves in sixth place, while Dallas is currently holding down the No. 3 seed as the leader of the Pacific division.

All I now is, with 11 games left on the schedule, the time is now for one of these goalies to step up and claim this job, as Emery has reopened the door.

So the question is, can Crawford take back what was his to start the season, or will this battle come down to whoever is left standing on April 7 against Detroit?

I don't know if anyone knows the answer, but it should be an interesting few weeks as the Blackhawks march towards the playoffs.

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