There were a couple of narratives from the mainstream media heading into Game 5 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. One such narrative, perhaps larger than all of the others, was the Boston Bruins and their concentration on the glove side of Chicago Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford.
While it was true that eight Bruin goals in the series, through the first four games, had been high to the glove side of Corey Crawford, it was an absurd story that took on a life of its own. In previous series, teams had been focusing on the blocker side. Bottom line: when you shoot high on a goaltender, whether it’s Crawford or Jonathan Quick or Tuukka Rask, your chances of scoring increase exponentially.
Which is why it was so refreshing to see Crawford bounce back in a big way against Boston on Saturday night in Game 5. Crawford was outstanding in a tight game, which the Blackhawks ended up winning by a much lower count of 3-1. Coming off of a 6-5 overtime final in Game 4, this was something that many were expecting.
Both teams got back to their defensive style that has made this series so tight. Rask was unable to stop a couple of Patrick Kane goals, which eventually ended up being the difference. Crawford allowed one goal, which was too his glove side, but there’s no way he had a chance of stopping it.
Not when it’s Zdeno Chara winding up from just a few feet a way. A defenseman that shoots literally over 100 miles per hour, with a clear lane in front of him, slapping the puck at the net. No goaltender on the planet is going to stop that. Even if they’re in position, it’s probably a safety hazard with that guy coming down from the point.
There are a few reasons the Hawks were able to squeak out the win. But the fact that Crawford came up big all but destroys the nonsensical narrative that was taking place prior to Saturday’s Game 5. Now the series shifts back to Boston, with the Hawks having a chance to clinch their second Stanley Cup title in the last four years.