Scott Darling (via NHL)
Scott Darling took flight Monday night against the Maple Leafs, diving across his crease to make a glove save on Toronto’s Nick Spaling. Darling made 35 saves on the night, but none were better than his effort on Spaling.
As the Blackhawks head down the home stretch, Scott Darling might get to see more action as Chicago gives Corey Crawford some rest with the post-season in sight. And even if that wasn’t the plan for coach Joel Quenneville, he might reconsider after Darling made one of the best saves of the season Monday night against the visiting Maple Leafs.
With Chicago up 3-0 early in the second frame, Toronto’s Daniel Winnik blasted the puck on goal, but the puck was deflected by Blackhawks winger Teuvo Teravainen and spilled toward the slot onto the tape of a waiting Nick Spaling. Spaling had the entire net to fire at and quickly rifled a puck on goal, but Darling, in a heroic effort, dove back to his left and snagged Spaling’s attempt out of the air:
The stop kept Darling’s shutout going and the Blackhawks would add another four goals before the Maple Leafs finally cracked the Chicago goaltender. Darling would go on to stop 35 of the 37 shots that came his way, including all 15 he faced in the second period.
When asked post-game about his incredible save on Spaling, Darling said it happened because of his own error. "I went to push to my right and I clearly whiffed,” Darling said, via Chris Kuc. “So that’s why I had to desperately dive across."
Darling’s stop is definitely one of the best saves of the NHL season, but it’s going to be hard for anyone to lay claim to save of the year after ECHL goaltender Jeff Lerg’s stop Sunday. But if Lerg isn’t a lock, Darling’s definitely a candidate for the top spot.