Chicago Blackhawks: Could 2 Hot Goalies Spark a Controversy?
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The Chicago Blackhawks are flying high atop the Western Conference. All is good. There is no reason to suggest that everything hasn't come up roses thus far for the 'Hawks.
Stars playing like stars? Check.
Special teams firing on all cylinders? Check.
Defensive improvement? Check.
Solid net play from both goalies? Check. And this is where a thought popped into my head in the hours leading up to Chicago's game at Phoenix Thursday night.
Ray Emery turned in another good game, so I am probably putting way too much thought into this. However, did it seem odd to anyone else that Joel Quenneville opted to rest Corey Crawford after giving him a night off on Saturday?
Crawford is the Chicago's number one man in net. He did give up three goals in the opening period Tuesday in San Jose, but returned to form in the last 40 minutes.
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It seems to me that you show your main man you have confidence in him by giving him the start against the team that knocked the 'Hawks out of the playoffs last spring.
If Crow had played the night before or had appeared in the last three or four games heading into Thursday, starting Emery is a no-brainer in light of the way he played Saturday night in Calgary.
At this point, Quenneville has two pretty good options at goal. Crawford has a 1.82 goals against average through eight games and a .930 save percentage. Emery is allowing 2.52 goals a contest to go with a .920 save percentage and has won all three of his starts.
Are we looking at the Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliot tandem St. Louis sported in net last season? Probably not, but if the Blackhawks can get points on the board, then it isn't a huge issue.
Chicago has still not posted a shutout this year, but the goaltending has won at least one game- Emery's 45-save performance against the Flames. You could add Crawford's 29 for 30 performance against Detroit in that category as well.
With both Crawford and Emery playing tall, perhaps it's reading too much into the situation in regards to Quenneville sitting Crawford twice in the span of six days. Resting the starter while Emery has a hot hand makes sense.
Chicago will need a confident and fresh Crawford as the games pile up this spring, so I probably shouldn't cry wolf in the midst of such a torrid streak. I would guess that Crawford gets back to the grind in Nashville as the 'Hawks close out the road trip. However, it is a nice luxury to have two goalies on top of their games.
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