Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville turns to Emery for third straight time
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org April 9, 2013 9:53PM
Updated: April 9, 2013 11:53PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ray Emery said last week that his role was to support Corey Crawford in the postseason as his backup. But he certainly is making his case for the top job.
Emery recorded his third shutout in his last five starts Tuesday in the Blackhawks’ 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Emery made 20 saves. In a 1-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday, he also made 20 saves. On March 26 against the Calgary Flames, he needed only 16 saves in a 2-0 victory.
“The team’s playing really tight games,” Emery said. “Nineteen, 20 shots, and mostly just kind of single shots down the wing or whatever. I think we’re just playing good defensively.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville hinted before the game that Crawford would get his first start in more than a week Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. He said Emery’s shutout probably wouldn’t change the team’s plans but “we’ll talk about it.”
“I thought he was solid,” Quenneville said. “He’s finding pucks, and I thought our defense in front of him played very well.”
Quenneville continued to say he has the utmost confidence in both of his goaltenders and said Crawford is 100 percent healthy. But with less than three weeks left in the regular season, he likely will have to settle on one soon.
Emery, naturally, dodged the question of whether he should — or could — be the Hawks’ top goalie in the playoffs.
“I think we’re both just trying to do our best when we get the opportunity to play,” he said. “You don’t control when you get the start, but you want to be ready.”
For much of the last month, Patrick Kane was feeling the effects of relentless double-shifting to make up for Marian Hossa’s injury. But now, as the Hawks hit the home stretch, Kane said he’s feeling rested.
“We were just talking about it — if we were in this part of [an 82-game] schedule right now, it might be mid-December or January, we’d be in midseason form,” Kane said. “So I feel good, I feel really good. I was a little worn down there last week, but [I’m] back to normal. I’m sure a lot of guys can say that, too, especially with the shortened season. There’s been some games when I’ve played a lot of minutes, but lately my minutes haven’t really been up there, and my energy level’s fine.”
Dave Bolland did not make the trip to Minnesota. He was hurt April 1 when he took a slap shot off his foot. He played Thursday but has missed the last three games.