The Chicago Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead in their series against the Nashville Predators with a 4-2 win in Chicago on Sunday. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville went with Scott Darling in goal over Corey Crawford Sunday and it turned out to be a good move by the Blackhawks coach. Crawford has struggled mightily in this series thus far, already getting the hook once, so Chicago really needed to see some good play out of Scott Darling Sunday.
Darling would answer the call in his first NHL playoff start, delivering 35 saves to earn his first win as a starter and lead his team to that 2-1 series lead. Of course it didn’t hurt the Blackhawks’ chances that they were going up against a Nashville team that was missing one of its most important players in Shea Weber. Weber was knocked out of game two and subsequently ruled out of both games three and four of the series.
Without Weber the Predators looked lost on defense and Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne couldn’t bail out his defense when they needed him to. Rinne of late hasn’t been the dominant force that he was earlier in the season and he looked to really need the star defenseman Weber, which is a bad sign for game four.
Quenneville hasn’t announced the starter in goal for Chicago for game four, only offering this to CSN Chicago:
“We’ll talk about it but certainly he did everything he could to get himself back in the net,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He was rock solid today. He did everything he could to get us a win and he was square, big and controlled a lot of pucks around the net as well.”
It really would be a surprise if it wasn’t Darling, he’s been the clear better option for Chicago.
Game four is Tuesday in Chicago.
Here were some sentiments from Darling on the fans after the win: