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Blackhawks to start Darling in Game 6 vs. Predators

NHL.com @NHL

CHICAGO -- Goalie Scott Darling will start for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Darling allowed three of Nashville's four third-period goals and lost Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday. The 5-2 loss cut the Blackhawks' lead to 3-2 in the best-of-7 series.

Darling took over the starting role after a similar performance in Game 2 by Corey Crawford, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he isn't ready to switch back.

"He's played well in this series," Quenneville said of Darling, who has a 1.67 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. "You could look at the four games he's been in, he's been solid. [We're] very happy with the way he's played, so he's going [Saturday]."

Darling entered the series at the start of the second period of Game 1, when he relieved Crawford and didn't allow a goal against 42 shots in Chicago's 4-3 win in double overtime. Thursday, he saved 20 of 21 shots through two periods but allowed three goals in the first 3:14 of the third period.

The first goal, scored by Predators forward James Neal 47 seconds into the period, came when Darling was caught out of position on a wraparound. Quenneville said after the game he didn't like that goal but seemed to place more blame on the defenders who failed to disrupt the play by extending their sticks.

Nashville scored two goals 2:47 later, separated by 12 seconds, to make it 4-1. It was similar to the way Crawford allowed three third-period goals in Game 2, except Crawford allowed his midway through the period.

Quenneville said Friday he's not concerned about Darling's ability to bounce back.

"He's played some games where he didn't win in the past, and he's let a bad goal in in the past as well," Quenneville said. "Look at the four games. He's let one ordinary goal go in, in that net, and besides that he's consistently square. You have to look at his positioning and confidence. He's done everything right. So, commend him on that."

Quenneville didn't commit to a starter if there's a need for Game 7 in Nashville on Monday.

"He's playing [Saturday]," he said of Darling. "We're only thinking about [that] game. That's what it's all about."

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