Corey Crawford will miss his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury and his status for the opening of the upcoming four-game western road trip is up in the air, coach Joel Quenneville indicated Tuesday.
Scott Darling will make his fourth consecutive start when the Hawks face the Central Division- leading Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at the United Center.
Quenneville said Crawford is making “a little bit” of progress with the injury, which he re-iterated was “hockey-related.”
Will Crawford travel with the team to Calgary for Saturday night’s game against the Flames? “We’ll see,” Quenneville said.
Darling, who made a regularly scheduled start vs. the Flyers last week, will be starting four consecutive games for the first time since last December, when he played four straight games when Crawford missed eight games with an injury.
Darling is 1-1-1 with a .945 save percentage (86-of-91) and 1.64 goals-against average in the three previous starts.
“All three games were fine,” Quenneville said. “His last two [a 4-0 victory over the Jets and a 3-2 shootout loss to the Wild] were really, really good. Got us points in the last two and almost a pair [against the Wild]. I like the continuation.”
The third-place Hawks (42-24-7, 91 points) are four points behind the Stars (43-21-9, 95) and two points behind the Blues (42-22-9, 93) in the Central Division. All three teams have nine games remaining in the regular season.
The Hawks are 1-3 against the Stars this season. They won 5-1 in Dallas on Feb. 6, but lost 4-2 at the United Center on Feb. 11 and 5-2 in Dallas on March 11.
“It’s very important for us, especially at home against a team that’s played well against us and we haven’t fared very well,” Quenneville said. “We want to make sure we’re ready. We know the importance of the game, a four-point swing and we have a lot of room to make up for as well.
“We have to play our best game. And we need to play a good game as well to feel we’re getting back to where we need to be.”