Scott Darling Shuts Out the Rangers
Scott Darling picked the perfect game to earn his first career shutout for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The recently recalled Darling and the Blackhawks went into Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, and came away with the 1-0 victory in a very tightly contested game between two Stanley Cup contenders.
The game also happened to be nationally televised on NBCSN, which was an especially nice reason for the Illinois native to achieve the milestone.
Darling had to make a huge save in the first period, stretching out with a full poke check to rob Rick Nash, who was alone in front. The old-school move forced Darling to use his entire 6’6″ frame – just barely getting the toe of his pad on the puck.
Brad Richards scored the lone goal for the Blackhawks. The forward was bought out of his contract by the Rangers last off-season, so it was especially sweet to score the game winner in New York.
The Rangers thought they had scored when Dominic Moore jostled home a loose puck in the first period, but the whistle had blown as the referee had lost sight of the puck and the goal was waved off.
For the Blackhawks, that is their fourth win in a row, and sixth in their last seven games.
Darling’s save percentage rises to .936 on the season, as he is now 7-3-0 in the first 10 starts of his career.
It is definitely another feel-good story with Darling, who was toiling away in the Southern Professional league with the Louisiana IceGators as recently as 2011. He also battled back from an anxiety disorder, which was causing him to drink excessively.
Darling is the second goalie in less than a week to record his first career shutout, as 20 year-old Mackenzie Skapski (who also battled adversity) recorded his first shutout against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.
Corey Crawford simply needed a rest on this night, but the Blackhawks must have peace of mind knowing that they have another confident goaltender ready and waiting if an injury should occur.
The Blackhawks now trail the St. Louis Blues by a meagre three points for top spot in the Central Division.