Blackhawks don’t give goalie Glass much of a chance in 5-4 loss to Las Vegas
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Jeff Glass has traveled some kind of road to get here.
But the Blackhawks won’t let him rest.
One week after making his NHL debut — at the age of 32 — Glass was back in net Friday for the Hawks against the Vegas Golden Knights at the United Center. It was his fourth start in a critical stretch for a team that’s without regular goalie Corey Crawford ‘‘indefinitely,’’ according to coach Joel Quenneville, as it tries to claw its way into a more-crowded-than-ever Western Conference playoff picture.
No dice in this 5-4 defeat. Glass again faced so many shots — 43 this time, including 19 in the Knights’ two-goal first period — that he might has well have been on the ice alone.
Glass is 2-1-1 as a starter and has seen 152 shots scream his way. If nothing else, he has proved he doesn’t have a glass chin. Whether it’ll be Glass or Anton Forsberg who backs up Crawford after his return from injured reserve, we just don’t know. Quenneville is shedding no light on that.
‘‘Right now, in the position we’re in, we have to win the next game,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘And that’s how we look at the goaltending situation.’’
Glass dotted the map and then some in his quest to reach the grandest stage of all. From British Columbia to Binghamton, New York, and from Moscow to Chicago — with many stops in between — he has been there and done that, stayed on his feet and kept fighting for his dream.
‘‘I always thought I’d [get] here,’’ he said after the Hawks’ morning skate Friday.
Sixteen years — or half his life — ago, Glass found himself a two-hour drive due south from his native Calgary, Alberta, playing junior hockey for the Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves. And now look at him: He’s back in the Crowsnest, isn’t he? Make that ‘‘Crow’s’’ nest — right there in Crawford’s usual spot, in the belly of the beast.
It was a gnarly place to be against the best-in-the-West Knights (28-10-2), the sort of expansion team that comes onto the scene once in a blue — no, make that never.
‘‘It’s an amazing story,’’ Quenneville said of their conference-high 58 points and plus-29 goals differential.
On the ice before the game, as the national anthem played, Glass stood with his eyes closed. Almost as soon as he opened them, a shot was redirecting off Alex Tuch’s skate and between Glass’ legs 4:44 into the first period. This came one second after the end of a Knights power play and before the Hawks (19-15-6) could get their fifth skater back on the ice.
There was nothing but bad luck for the journeyman goalie. At 5:54 of the second period, a shot by Reilly Smith caromed off the end boards and right to the stick of William Karlsson, who popped in as easy a goal as he’ll have all season for a 3-1 lead.
The Hawks rallied with three consecutive goals, including a vintage rocket by Patrick Sharp over the shoulder of goalie Malcolm Subban, for a 4-3 edge that wouldn’t last. Smith scored unassisted on a breakaway for the game-winner in what was a fitting end for Glass, who had stopped flurries of shots yet found himself on the business end of the Knights’ latest explosion.
And the Hawks’ latest subpar effort in front of their goalie.
Will it be Glass or Forsberg up next? And how much longer will the wait be for Crawford? Glass said he thinks the moment is his. The man is 32, after all.
‘‘I feel like all the experiences I’ve had — whether they’ve been overseas or back here — have really prepared me for this,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not a 21-year-old rookie. I’ve seen a lot of things on and off the ice now. I definitely feel like I’m ready for this moment.’’
Follow me on Twitter @SLGreenberg.