The Chicago Blackhawks won their seventh straight game in impressive fashion Thursday night. However, the possible loss of Corey Crawford to another upper-body injury casts a bit of gloom to what was otherwise a dominating 'Hawks effort.
Chicago won 3-0 in St. Louis in a game that was memorable for several reasons. The Blackhawks scored 12 seconds after the opening faceoff with some textbook passing. Brandon Bollig and Ryan Reaves were denied the chance to pummel each other. The third line broke the game open with a third-period tally.
Ray Emery stood on his head in the second period, turning away a furious St. Louis power play when the outcome was still in doubt. Emery stopped 15 shots in relief of Crawford, who started the game and turned away all six shots he faced in the first 20 minutes.
As the clock ran out in the first period, Crawford appeared to wobble a bit coming out of the crease. He seemed to have some balance issues heading off the ice. After intermission, it was Emery in net and no sign of Crawford on the bench.
Following the game, coach Joel Quenneville told reporters that Crawford’s injury is unrelated to the upper-body injury that kept him out of the lineup for two weeks. No specific malady was revealed, which comes as no surprise. However, it is hard to rule out a concussion when Crawford left the ice in the way that he did.
Quenneville and the 'Hawks will check Crawford out Friday morning. Then they will determine if a call needs to be made to Rockford to recall a backup for Emery, whom I assume will be in net for Chicago's game with Columbus.
Either Henrik Karlsson or Carter Hutton should expect a call. Rockford is at home this weekend and even if it is just a precaution, Crawford is likely sitting out against the Blue Jackets.
Crawford looked good in his return Sunday, shutting out Columbus. Emery has been all you could hope for as the backup. It doesn't seem like a smart move for Crawford to even suit up this weekend.
Karlsson was up with Chicago in lieu of Crawford in the four games he was out with his previous injury. Hutton has played well in the last few weeks, so either goalie could be tapped to sit on the bench as Emery takes on Columbus and then the Red Wings on Sunday morning.
If Crawford was ill, it stands to reason that the team would come right out and say so. Something affected Chicago's No. 1 net-minder Thursday. We should get a better picture as to the severity of the problem with the 'Hawks next move in the hours leading up to Friday's game.