Crawford starts as Blackhawks look for first win against unbeaten Oilers

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford looks on during the first period of a preseason NHL hockey against the Washington Capitals game Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

by Scott King
@ScottKingMedia

In a fairly surprising move, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton is starting Corey Crawford against the red-hot, 5-0-0, Edmonton Oilers.

It’s not so much that the two-time Stanley Cup champion is starting, it’s that he’s getting the net over Robin Lehner. In his Chicago debut on Saturday, Lehner looked sharp saving 30 of 33 Winnipeg Jets shots, despite the Hawks losing in overtime 3-2.

“Both guys are going to get in,” Colliton said following Monday’s morning skate. “They’re both going to play. I’m not going to give you the road map, but today it’s Crawford and we’ll go from there.”

The Blackhawks (0-2-1) will still be looking for their first win of the season on Monday night at the United Center. Given, falling to 0-3-1 would be Chicago’s worst start since 1997-98 when they went 0-7-0 to begin the year, it feels like a must-win game.

“Yeah it’s always magnified at the start of the year,” Colliton said. “Your special teams, you got people with 100 percent PK, you got people with 40 percent power play, and all the little things, they look way bigger than they are.

“Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82 it’s not going to be looked upon as closely as this one, so again we just gotta focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we’ll get the results.”

With a win, the Oilers can capture the franchise’s second-best all-time start. They were 7-0-0 in 1983-84 on their way to the first of five Stanley Cups in a seven-year span.

They Oilers could also become the first NHL team with a comeback victory in each of its first six games of a season.

Dach watch

Blackhakws’ No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, center Kirby Dach (concussion), was activated and assigned to the Rockford IceHogs Saturday, where he had two shots on goal for his pro debut in a 4-2 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

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