Many NHL teams have trouble winning with one goalie, but the Chicago Blackhawks have a luxury that no other team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs maintain. Corey Crawford was the Hawks’ starting goalie for the most of the regular season and finished the year with 30 wins to 19 losses. After being in the minor leagues for quite some time, Crawford burst onto the scene in 2013, but backup Ray Emery did his best to steal the show.
A eight year veteran, Emery had his best season this year with a 1.9 Goals Against Average and a more important statistic of 17 wins and just one loss for the duration of the season. Unfortunately, a lower body injury has kept Emery out of action since April 24th, and his presence has surely been missed. Crawford has looked good in the time that Emery has been on the shelf, but after a whole season of virtually platooning the goalie position, it’s a strange scenario mix-up for Chicago.
Emery and the Blackhawks’ defense was unstoppable at parts of the season, so having him back on the ice will be a boost to say the least. Especially in a shortened NHL playoff schedule, the teams with two effective goaltenders will have a great edge. Emery was able to skate on Sunday prior to the Minnesota Wild defeating the Hawks and making a series out of it at 2-1 with Chicago in the lead.
If a lower body injury has kept Emery off of the ice for this long, there is a great possibility that he won’t be the dynamite backstop that he was during the regular season. The rubber will hit the road if Emery is ruled active for game four, especially if Crawford struggles and the Wild even the series at two a piece.