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Corey Crawford activated off IR, nears return to Blackhawks’ lineup

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DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save on a backhand shot by Dallas Stars Center Tyler Seguin (91) during the NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars on November 5, 2016 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – For the most part, Blackhawks fans are quite pleased with their backup netminder over the first three months of the season.

But the chance to get the starter back certainly is enticing for fans of the team as well as head coach Joel Quenneville.

That possibility is closer to reality late Tuesday night when the Blackhawks activated Corey Crawford off the injured reserve. It came shortly after the team’s 4-3 loss to the Senators at the United Center.

Goaltender Lars Johannson, who served as the backup for Darling in Crawford’s absence, was sent back down to Rockford of the AHL.

Since he had an emergency appendectomy on December 3rd before the Blackhawks’ game against the Flyers, Crawford has been on the Injured Reserve. Darling has filled in admirably, posting a 6-3-1 record in the starter’s absence.

Late week Crawford began to skate back in Chicago while the team was on a road trip out east. His workload has steadily increased since then and now appears to have a shot to start in the Blackhawks’ next game against the Avalanche Saturday at the United Center.

The 31-year old has a 12-6-2 record with a 2.27 goals against average so far in the 2016-2017 season.