Two nights after Crawford let Phoenix Coyotes' winger Mikkel Boedker play the hero with a short-angle shot in Game 3's extra frame, the netminder surrendered another back-breaking, soft, OT goal in Game 4. Now, unsurprisingly, the Chicago Blackhawks' coach is considering a turn to Ray Emery on the eve of a must-win Game 5. From ESPN:
Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday he's considering pulling starting goaltender Corey Crawford in favor of Ray Emery for Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes.
"We're talking about that," said Quenneville, who usually announces his starting goaltender the day before the game. "Don't foresee any announcements."
Quenneville's right to consider a change.
"I have no clue," Corey Crawford told reporters when asked how Mikkel Boedker's shot got past him.
But he wasn't the only one dumbfounded by it. Boedker's shot was hardly a shot at all. The puck was moving about as quickly as "Meet Joe Black" and, like that movie, it never got off the ground. All Crawford had to do there was seal off the bottom of the ice, but somehow, it ran right through him, like the cars in the accident scene from "Meet Joe Black."
("Meet Joe Black" was on Super Channel the other night.)
Still, I'm not so sure Quenneville should make the switch.
It's highly unlikely that a move to Ray Emery will improve anything. Through 34 games this season, Emery's even-strength save percentage, usually the best indicator of a goaltender's ability, was .899. Of the 42 netminder with more than 30 appearances, the only guy with a lower even-strength save percentage was Dwayne Roloson.
In short, Joel Quenneville is right to want better goaltending than he's getting in this series, and it will be the reason for Chicago's ousting if he can't find it, but he's wrong to think he'll get it from Ray Emery. In an elimination game, you need to play your best option, and despite what we've seen from him so far, Crawford's it.