Hawks can't go wrong with goalie choice

April, 16, 2013
4/16/13
6:27
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's decision on a playoff goalie won't be an easy one with Corey Crawford and Ray Emery playing equally well.

They're both among the league leaders in goal-against average and save percentage, and the Blackhawks have won with both in the net.

But the bigger question may be whether it really matters which one Quenneville picks. While both goaltenders have been consistent, there's also the fact the Blackhawks defense just isn't allowing opponents many opportunities to score.

The Blackhawks rank fourth in the league with a 26.0 shots-against average. They've had 18 games where they've allowed less than 25 shots and seven of those were under 20 shots.

It's rare for the Blackhawks to allow a field day at their net. They've allowed opponents just twice to take more than 35 shots. That's also thanks to the Blackhawks' league-leading 416 takeaways, which is 48 more than the next team, and 31.2 shots for average, which is fifth best in the NHL. Opponents have a hard time shooting when they don't have the puck.

Emery has had it slightly easier than Crawford. Emery has had six game where he's seen 26 or more shots while Crawford has had 14. The Blackhawks also haven't allowed more than 24 shots in any of Emery's last 10 complete games dating back to Feb. 22.

Lately, the defense has played even better for both goaltenders. In eight games in April, the Blackhawks have allowed an average of 23.5 shots against. For the month, Crawford has allowed seven goals on 108 shots in four games, and Emery has allowed five goals on 80 shots in four games.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26