Crawford starting first back-to-back of season

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will start on consecutive days for the first time this season Sunday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville announced prior to playing the Calgary Flames.

Crawford started Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and made 26 saves on 27 shots in a 5-1 Blackhawks’ road win.

“We always go into [the second game,] look after the [first] game see how did, see how he’s doing,” Quenneville said. “We had a light week, so that was part of it as well. Give him a back-to-back as well.”

Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin split the Blackhawks’ first two sets of back-to-back games this season. Khabibulin has allowed a total of 10 goals in his last two starts and has a 4.73 goals-against average and .818 save percentage in three starts this season.

Crawford was 7-0-1 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .934 save percentage when he started on consecutive days during the 2013 season. He was 3-0-1 with a 1.75 goals-against average and .941 save percentage on the second day of those back-to-backs.

Crawford said Friday he was confident Quenneville would only play him on consecutive days when it made sense for Crawford and the team.

“I think it really depends on how much work I get,” Crawford said Friday. “There’s no point in getting me tired so early in the season. For me, personally, I think it’s just how tough of a game you have or how much work you have for playing the next game. Travel, too; how long the flight is. There’s a bunch of a little factors that could play into it. Q is a smart coach. He knows how to control that.”

The Blackhawks have 18 sets of back-to-back games this season.