The Blackhawks care about the regular season, but they base whether or not their season is a success on whether or not they win the Stanley Cup. They’re aiming for their fourth cup in eight years.
In this series with the Nashville Predators, and in every playoff series the key for the Blackhawks will be the goaltending. Corey Crawford is obviously the guy, but as we’ve seen in previous seasons if he struggles Joel Quenneville won’t hesitate to turn to Scott Darling.
Both men had solid, not spectacular regular seasons. Quenneville believes they’re both ready to deliver in the playoffs.
“They’ve proved it,” says Quenneville. “In Corey’s case it’s been all year long and you look at his history he seems to get better. The challenge for him here now is to be consistent. Be the best you can be. He seems to rise when the challenge gets bigger and the stakes get bigger. The importance in goaltending and the needs of having success in the playoffs goaltending is right up there.”
On the other side the Predators have a veteran goaltender who has some big games under his belt in Pekka Rinne. The Blackhawks took four out of five regular season games from the Predators. Let’s hope that pattern continues.