Crawford or Darling?
Darling or Crawford?
It shouldn’t matter.
Chicago Blackhawks Joel Quenneville has already named Scott Darling the goalie in Saturday night’s Game 6 matchup between his Hawks and the Nashville Predators. But in all reality, it shouldn’t matter if Darling is the goalie, if Corey Crawford is the goalie, or if goalie coach Jimmy Waite stood between the pipes for the Hawks.
This series should be over after Game 6.
The Predators had a very good team in the regular season. The fact that they were atop the league’s standings for much of the winter was not a fluke. There was a late-season slump that saw them slide down into this matchup with the Hawks, but now the injury bug has infested the Predators’ lineup.
Defenseman Shea Weber, who’s been a finalist for the Norris Trophy three times in his career, has been ruled out for the rest of this series due to an injury suffered in Game 2. Nashville has one of the deepest blue lines in the league, but there’s no replacing a player of Weber’s caliber.
Center Mike Fisher, one of the best two-way players on the Predators, missed Games 2, 3 and 4 of this series before returning in Game 5 but still doesn’t appear to be playing at 100 percent. The same can be said of Nashville’s leading scorer in Colin Wilson, who again missed Nashville’s morning skate on Saturday but is still expected to play in Game 6.
As for the Blackhawks, there are no injuries to report. Patrick Kane now has five playoff hockey games under his belt, and there are no more signs of rust that can be found. Everyone else is healthy — a rare and treasured luxury in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nashville’s injuries have deprived them of the depth that’s necessary to compete over a best-of-7 series. With the Blackhawks again able to roll four forward lines, they should be able to close this series out.
The Hawks appeared to be playing well in Game 5 before the first few minutes of the third period completely unraveled. Playing at home in a Game 6 with a chance to end another team’s season is the kind of game that legit Cup contenders do not lose.
So win it.