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Sunday, July 3

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Blackhawks Fri Mar 01 2013

Blackhawks Have Enviable Goalie Pair

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.pngThe Blackhawks have won games this season in every way possible: Defense, offense, grit, etc. Most observers like to point out that the team has a goaltending tandem most team would love to have.

Starter Corey Crawford and backup Ray Emery have provided the stability at a position that has long been a problem for the Blackhawks. During the Stanley Cup run, no one wanted to see Christobal Huet in goal if something happened to Antti Niemi. This time around, no matter who's in goal, the team doesn't seem to mind.

Everyone is aware how a goaltender's play can either elevate or torpedo the season for any team. Remember what Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick did for their respective teams? As soon as those players turned it on, the Bruins and the Kings were unstoppable.

No one is complaining about this, but when was the last time a team had such a problem? You could say that the Vancouver Canucks have such a problem with their goalies, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Do not expect Luongo to be with the team much longer. Vancouver is trying to get out of that massive 12-year contract they signed him to because they seem to like Schneider better nowadays.

Take note of what happened last night with Crawford; he left the game during the first intermission with an injury. Ray Emery came in and helped the team preserve a shutout against hated division rival St. Louis.

Coach Joel Quenneville told WSCR's "Mully & Hanley Show" that the reason for this season's hot start has been the play between the pipes.

"Our goaltending has been a real key for us," Quenneville said. "The consistency of the goaltending situations have been very good for us. I think that's really where the guys have been feeding off, as well. It's been a very healthy situation where we're very pleased."

The way last night's game played out backed up Quenneville's claims that Crawford and Emery are interchangeable parts. One player went down, another came in to take his place -- and the team did not miss a beat. That kind of confidence is crucial during a shortened season when every game is worth substantially more.

Crawford and Emery are both in the National Hockey League's top ten in wins and goals against (Crawford is number one in goals against). While Crawford is number two in save percentage. Emery checks in at number five in the same category. That combination is pretty good for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

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