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The Blackhawks, though, didn’t like the difficult, but necessary, call they had to make after the franchise won its first NHL title since 1961.

After hoisting the Stanley Cup three years ago, Chicago cut ties with its championship-winning goalie, Antti Niemi, in a salary-cap move and tried to keep winning with past-his-prime Marty Turco and Crawford.

It didn’t work out too well when it mattered most: Chicago got knocked out of the playoffs in the opening round of each of the past two postseasons.

Crawford gave up 13 goals in losses during the first round last year to Phoenix, which won two games in overtime on soft goals against him with Emery as his idle backup. Crawford beat out Turco for the job two years ago and allowed 11 goals in setbacks against Vancouver in the opening round as Chicago’s revamped team failed to defend its championship.

Crawford is coming through this season, allowing a league-low 1.41 goals per game and ranking second with a .945 save percentage. Emery ranks sixth in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA and with his .926 save percentage.

“They’ve got depth all over the place, but it’s a particular luxury to have two goalies like they have,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “If they don’t have one, they can put the other one in without missing a beat.”


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