Corey Crawford will miss his second consecutive game because of an upper-body injury he suffered last week. Backup Scott Darling will make his third consecutive start when the Hawks face the Minnesota Wild at 7:30 tonight at the United Center.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford still is “day-to-day.” The Hawks announced his injury last Wednesday. Darling, who had made a regularly scheduled start for Crawford the previous night — a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers — started for Crawford against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night in Winnipeg and recorded his second career shutout in a 4-0 victory.
Quenneville said he is hoping that Darling — as well as the team as a whole — can build on the confidence from that 28-save performance.
“It can help in a lot of ways,” Quenneville said. “We needed a win. And he needed a win as well. But the way he went about it was the best part. I think it can help your confidence. He hasn’t had consecutive games and that was a great response as well.
“It’s a great challenge for him. I like the response for him getting in the net and taking advantage of it.”
This will be the first time Darling has started three consecutive regular-season games since last December, when he made four consecutive road starts against the Predators (2-1 victory), Devils (3-2 shootout victory), Bruins (3-2 victory) and Islanders (3-2 loss) while Crawford missed eight games with a foot injury. Darling started three consecutive playoff games in the first-round series against the Nashville Predators last year — winning Game 3 (4-2) and Game 4 (3-2 in overtime) at the United Center before losing Game 5 (5-2) at Bridgestone Arena.
In other Hawks injury news, Quenneville said he still expects forward Marcus Kruger, out since Dec. 18 after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated wrist, to play in the upcoming western road trip to Calgary (Saturday), Vancouver (next Sunday), Minnesota (Dec. 29) and Winnipeg (April 1).