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Monday, December 11

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Blackhawks Mon Dec 06 2010

Kane injured as Crawford picks up another win

While the Blackhawks exacted some revenge on the Calgary Flames in a 4-2 victory last night at the United Center, seeing Patrick Kane go down on his first shift is likely to be the more lasting image from the contest.

Kane was twisting away from a hit by the Flames' Cory Sarich, but Sarich's stick appeared to get entangled in Kane's legs, resulting in an awkward fall into the boards. Kane left the ice and was unable to put weight on his left leg, and the only news out of the team was that he would not return due to a lower-body injury. After the game, coach Joel Quenneville's only statement was he would be "out a little bit", which hopefully will mean only a minor sprain rather than anything more serious.

With the Hawks off today, only announcing Jeremy Morin's being sent down to Rockford, there won't be any further information until at least tomorrow.

Meanwhile, on the ice Dave Bolland contributed 2 goals as the Hawks power-play struck for all 4 goals in the win over the Flames. Corey Crawford was in net, picking up his 6th straight win, creating more questions regarding the Hawks long-term plans in goal.

Marty Turco was in net for Friday's 3-0 loss to Vancouver, and while he didn't get any help from his offense thanks to the strong game by Roberto Luongo and the Canucks defense, it was another game that saw Turco end up on the wrong side of the win column. Turco's play wasn't exceptionally poor, but 3 goals on 18 shots isn't going to get you many wins regardless of how strong those shots were. In fact, other than a 5-0 shutout of the woeful Oilers Nov. 17 and a 2-goal effort in a loss to Phoenix Nov. 10, Turco's given up at least 3 goals in every start since Nov. 1, posting an .878 save percentage in the process.

Crawford's made the most of his additional starts, going 6-1 since Nov. 1, with a .923 save percentage and only a 5-goal blemish against the Blues that still saw the Hawks pick up the victory, 7-5. For whatever reason, the Blackhawks have been turning in much stronger performances with Crawford in net, and the team seems to play a more controlled and stable with him there. Whether it's due to the difference of Turco's more adventurous style or just a correlation of a defense that's finally rounding into shape at the same time as Crawford's hot hand remains to be seen, but it would be a surprise to not see Crawford in goal for Wednesday's game against Dallas.

That's not to say Turco's lost the starting job, or that this is representative of a bigger goalie controversy, but Quenneville has to take advantage of a player who's been picking up the wins, regardless of the strength of that play. Turco kept the Hawks in some games they didn't deserve to be in early in the year, and though the stats don't fully back it up, many of the goals against lately have been the culprit of some major defensive lapses. One thing's for sure: with 10 games still to play in December, the Hawks are going to need both Crawford and Turco to turn in some strong performances if the Hawks want to pad on some points in an increasingly tight conference race.

 
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