Following NHL action over the weekend, there has been some distinguished goaltending in the 2017 playoffs thus far. Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers is a case in point. After dropping the first game of the series, Talbot has been lights out in his first playoff season. Back-to-back shutouts have Edmonton up 2-1 in their best-of-seven of series as the Oilers have weathered a barrage of penalties.

Talbot, Jake Allen, and Pekke Rinne are at one side of the spectrum when it comes to NHL goaltending thus far in the playoffs. Heading into Monday, the goalies are a combined 7-1. At the other side of the spectrum, there is Chicago's Corey Crawford with a .878 save percentage.

That's the worse save proportion of the sixteen goaltenders that have seen action thus far. Accordingly, arguably it's Scott Darling that should be getting the start in game three against the Nashville Predators.

Scott Darling had a strong regular season

The Blackhawks are one of the few teams in the Nhl Playoffs that have the luxury of an excellent backup goaltender. Darling has a save percentage of .924 during the regular season and, unlike some backup goalies, it's not a statistic that's a limited amount of playing time. Darling had 32 appearances in the regular season.

His save percentage is, in fact, the 5th best when a 30-game minimum criterion is used. From the same point of view, Crawford is 13th best. That fact, the fact that Crawford has the worst stats through the opening days of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, and the fact that the 'Hawks are down 0-2 should force Chicago's hand.

Giving Darling the start would be the smart move to make.

Crawford expected to start nonetheless

There is discussion regarding benching Crawford (DaWindyCity.com), but as of early Monday, morning sources list him as starting game three. For example, NHLStartingSix.com, a website for fantasy sports enthusiasts, lists Crawford as a "confirmed" starter for game three.

It's strange that Chicago, with an ace in the hole, isn't going to go with their capable back-up. Arguably if they fall behind 3-0 in the series, it will be too late as there is so little precedent for a team in the NHL playoffs overcoming that deficit.

No one would have thought that the 8th-seeded Chicago Bulls of the NBA playoffs, playing on the road against Boston, would have a playoff win before their NHL counterparts. However, basketball is different than hockey when it comes to defense. One player, a cold goaltender, can knock a team out of the playoffs in hockey and Crawford seems to be doing just that.

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