CHICAGO -- For the past two-plus seasons, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling fulfilled his role as Corey Crawford's backup without complaint.

Naturally, Darling has bigger dreams of becoming a No. 1 netminder. His recent success as Crawford's injury replacement has reinforced the faith of his coaches and teammates.

"I think that, being patient, he can become a starter," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

Chicago (17-8-3) leans on Darling again as they host the New York Rangers (18-9-1). The teams play each other twice in the next five days in their only meetings of the season.

Darling, 27, makes his fourth consecutive start as Crawford recovers from an emergency appendectomy. He has posted a .940 save percentage in his last three outings and is 8-5-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .919 save percentage this season.

Crawford could miss a couple more weeks, which means Darling will receive regular work.

"You find a lot about the goalie, whether he can handle that workload," Quenneville said. "Every time he's done it, he's proven that he can do it. I think that's the next step is the real job. There's not a lot of opportunities to get that job in our league and it's very competitive, but I think he's proven that he can play a lot of games."

The Rangers pose a tough test for any goaltender. New York leads the league with 99 goals this season and averages 3.54 goals per game. Michael Grabner has a team-leading 13 goals, while Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes have 11 goals apiece.

Hayes' most recent goal Thursday night lifted the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over Winnipeg. The Rangers improved to 8-5-0 on the road as they travel to the United Center.

Injuries to key players have forced both teams to adjust.

The Blackhawks will be without Crawford, captain Jonathan Toews (upper body) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (upper body). The absence of Toews has prompted Quenneville to give more responsibility to center Marcus Kruger.

For the Rangers, Nash will miss his second consecutive game because of a groin injury. The 32-year-old likely will miss one or two more games in addition to Friday's contest.

Forwards Jimmy Vesey and Matt Puempel also have been out with upper-body injuries.

"Obviously we're missing a couple key elements, but every team in the NHL goes through injuries," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Like I've mentioned many times, it's an opportunity for some other players to step in and have more ice time and a bigger role."

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be in goal after being given the night off against the Jets. Lundqvist is 12-8-1 with a 2.55 GAA and a .912 save percentage this season. In his career against Chicago, he is 6-2-2 with a 2.19 GAA and a .925 save percentage.

Marian Hossa leads the Blackhawks with 14 goals. Hossa is coming off a two-goal game Tuesday in a 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The performance increased Hossa's total to 513 career goals, which matched him with ex-Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick for No. 38 on the all-time list.

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