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Still no goaltending controversy for the Chicago Blackhawks

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Here we are again, with Corey Crawford facing another opponent in a potential goaltending "controversy" during the playoffs. This one, however, like the others, doesn't actually exist. No matter how amazing Scott Darling was in Game 1.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I was going to start this post off with a meme of Ned Stark warning us about a goaltending controversy coming, but that would unravel my argument before I even began. You see, the reason for that is the fact that there isn't actually a goaltending controversy brewing quite yet for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Just like there wasn't a controversy when Ray Emery served as Corey Crawford's no. 2 man. Just like there wasn't a controversy when Antti Raanta spent much of his time at the end of the Chicago bench. And just like there isn't a controversy now, with Scott Darling behind Crawford.

Yes, Scott Darling was fantastic. He really was. He came in and nailed things down while the Hawks took care of their business in the offensive end in the second period of Game 1 against the Nashville Predators, while saving the Hawks' collective bacon throughout much of the third period. He kept things even across 42 saves in allowing the Hawks to escape with the 4-3 overtime victory on the road. If you want to point to a single player that got the Hawks to that 1-0 series lead, it's Darling.

And also kind of Patrick Kane, but probably mostly Darling.

This isn't an effort to discount what Scott Darling did on Wednesday night, or anything that he did during the regular season, because he's been a fantastic story for this team. Having bounced around throughout various minor league levels and professional leagues for the last several years, he's nailed down a spot with the Blackhawks, to the point where he earned a two-year contract extension.

However, when you have a clearly established franchise goaltender who has already won a Stanley Cup, you don't simply make a change after a single outing. Especially when that franchise goaltender is perhaps one of the only players on the roster who demonstrated any semblance of consistency over the last several weeks of the regular season, and is the primary reason that the Blackhawks even find themselves in this position, as in a playoff spot.

Crawford played for 3,333 minutes during the regular season. He's logged over 15,000 minutes in his career. He posted a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage this season. After a lull in his level of play after a return from his lower body injury, he was nails down the stretch, stealing some points in these last couple of months that the Blackhawks didn't necessarily deserve. And then there's that whole Stanley Cup winning netminder thing. This simply is not a change that you make after one game.

Was Crawford particularly sharp in the series opener on Wednesday night? Of course not. As much of a circus act as Michal Rozsival was on that opening goal, it's one that Crawford probably should have saved. And the Viktor Stalberg tally was obviously all on Crawford and his Mike Smith-esque misplay behind the net. At the same time, it's important to acknowledge that the goalie change was a motivational tactic more than anything (as much as that logic doesn't always make a ton of sense), with Patrick Sharp going as far as saying that they left Crawford out to dry in the first period.

Again, this isn't to dismiss Scott Darling in any fashion. If Crawford should falter and Darling is forced into more action, then perhaps this is something that becomes a discussion. God forbid Crawford should go down with any sort of injury, the Hawks know that they have a capable backup that can serve in his stead. But as for making this change after a single period in the first game of the playoff season, it's not going to happen. Nor should it.

There are going to be calls for Crawford's job, with folks saying that Scott Darling earned it after what he did on Wednesday night. However, those clamoring for the franchise netminder to lose his job after a period of hockey are likely going to be the same folks that have been crying for Emery and Raanta in the past. When Joel Quenneville steps to the podium and names his starting goaltender on Thursday, it'd be a complete and total shock to hear any name that isn't Corey Crawford.

I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. Just like I don't think there's a goaltending controversy. Because there isn't. End of story.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.