Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday that goaltender Scott Darling will start over Corey Crawford in Game 3 of the opening-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
The series is tied 1–1 after the Predators won Game 2 6–2 on Friday, scoring three goals over a 2:19 span in the third period. Crawford faced 35 shots, including six in the third period.
Darling, a rookie, made his playoff debut in Game 1 on Wednesday. After Crawford allowed three goals in the first 12 shots he faced, Quenneville pulled him in favor of Darling, who stopped all 42 shots he faced and allowed the Blackhawks to overcome a three-goal deficit for a 4–3, double-overtime win.
"It's not like he's never going to play again," Quenneville said of Crawford, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's not like he's discarded off the team. He's still a part of it, he's a big part of it. Things change instantly in our game. We saw instantly in Game 1, and here we are with a chance to make a different decision for Game 3. That's the business we're in. It's performance-driven a lot of times. This one is strictly because Scott played outstanding in the series and it’s been the differential."
Crawford, a seven-year veteran who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013, went 32–20–5 this season with a 2.27 goals against average and .924 save percentage. Darling appeared in 14 games, going 9–4–0 with a 1.95 goals against average and .936 save percentage.
After the series' first two games were played in Nashville, Game 3 will begin Sunday in Chicago at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.
- Mike Fiammetta