Another Blackhawks Season, Another Goaltending Controversy
By: Angie Wiatrowski
In his first start between the pipes since Nov. 24 in San Jose, Blackhawks goaltender Marty Turco fell short in the 3-0 loss to the Canucks Friday night. The vet has had to sit back and watch rookie Corey Crawford dominate, winning his last five starts.
Turco has fallen 2-6-1 with 29 shots on goal allowed in his past nine games. Crawford went 3-0 with a .907 save percentage during that five game span. Haven’t we seen this before?
Last season, Cristobal Huet was the Hawks’ starting goaltender but had Antti Niemi breathing down his neck, who eventually took over the in goal for the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Run. By April, Niemi’s .812 save percentage on shootouts (26 of 32) was the best in the NHL among goaltenders who have faced 20-plus shots. He had a .926 save percentage over nine starts, authored seven of Chicago’s 11 games of 30-plus saves, and denied 53 of 54 shots on goal in two games.
Huet was displaced as Chicago’s No. 1 goaltender prior to the Olympic break last season with his last strong start in a 3-2 loss to the Flyers on March 13, stopping 31 shots. Huet suffered a career-worst save percentage and couldn’t climb out of that hole. Is Turco headed down that path?
After the "circus trip," Crawford was sporting a 5-4-0 record with a 2.07 goals-against average. Turco was 8-7-2 with a 2.90 goals-against average and was 1-2-0 during the Hawks’ long road trip. Only time will tell if the 25-year-old rookie can catch up and dethrone Turco from his starting role, but there’s a good chance considering Crawford has earned another start vs. the Calgary Flames Sunday night. The Flames dominated the Hawks 7-2 in their last matchup for Chicago’s worst performance of the season. Looks like the Hawks are putting their faith in the rookie to turn things around.