The title of this article could probably be some form of “Corey Crawford Shuts Me Up, Helps Hawks Beat Blues”. After all, it had been less than 24 hours since I questioned whether or not Corey Crawford had a future in Chicago.
Now, before you all rush and read it and get the pitchforks ready, I wasn’t suggesting that he necessarily should find his way out of Chicago, but whether or not he could, if Ray Emery continued to run the table as the Blackhawks’ starting goaltender. I’m rooting for Crawford to find success as much as anyone else is.
Which is why his performance against St. Louis on Tuesday night was a very welcome one for the Blackhawks and their fans. Crawford showed that he can play when his mind is right, and helped the Hawks to a win over the white hot St. Louis Blues.
After Emery allowed three goals on six shots, the Hawks elected to go with Crawford in the second period and beyond. Only fair considering we’d see Emery in had Crawford allowed that many goals on so few shots.
And while Crawford didn’t have to be incredible, as the Hawks used a gutsy performance to dominate the Blues for much of the second half of the game, he did what he needed to do to get some of his confidence back. He made 18 saves on the night, but the bigger deal came in the shootout.
For the second straight game, the Blackhawks went to a shootout, except on Tuesday they left with the two points. Much of that was thanks to Corey Crawford, who saved all three attempts by St. Louis. He appeared pumped after each one and looked like a guy with confidence.
In Philadelphia, we have seen Ilya Bryzgalov do something similar. After a big shootout performance against the Calgary Flames, he’s rattled off four shutouts in his last seven starts. He’s been absolutely brilliant. Could we see Crawford do something similar?
Doubtful, simply because Crawford isn’t the same caliber of goaltender that Bryz is. But if this is the start of a new confidence for Crawford, you can see parallels. Of course, first he’ll have to be handed the start for Friday against the also hot Dallas Stars. With the Hawks still looking for a goaltender to take them into the playoffs, now Crawford’s chance to grab the job back.