Chicago Blackhawks may get star goalie Corey Crawford back soon

Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks were dealt an unfortunate blow on Dec. 3 when starting goalkeeper Corey Crawford had to remain in Philadelphia after a game to have an emergency appendectomy.

However, Crawford is recovering nicely after the unexpected surgery, even taking the ice before Sunday's game against San Jose, according to ESPN.com.

Though he didn't play against the Sharks, the Blackhawks think Crawford could be back by Friday against the Colorado Avalanche, according to the report.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is optimistic that Crawford will be able to return on Dec. 23 based on what he's seen from the goalie this week:

"He was out there today with some players, so he got some good work again today,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. "Tuesday again and then practice and then we'll look at the 23rd option.''

Crawford has started 20 games for the Blackhawks this season, compiling a 12-6-2 record in his limited action.

While Crawford has been recovering, backup Scott Darling has started eight games, going 5-2-1 over that stretch.

Though Darling has had plenty of success, the Blackhawks will be happy to have Crawford back simply to keep both talented keepers in the rotation and prevent one from getting fatigued.

Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks

Currently, Chicago is running away with the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference. With a record of 22-8-4, the Blackhawks have 48 points, eight points clear of the second-place Minnesota Wild.

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