Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Corey Crawford Needs to Continue Excellent Play to Silence Critics
The narrative Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford continues to write is one of big game performances matched together with an aggressive style which often draws the ire of Blackhawks fans.
Going into the week, the supporters of Blackhawks backup goalie Antti Raanta were able to speak loudly as Crawford was getting consistent starts while the Blackhawks were losing games. To date, Crawford has still regressed from last year’s excellent season, but his stats are right at his career average despite missing significant time due to injury.
His save percentage is .01 lower at .912 than average while Crawford is allowing 2.44 goals per game this year. His career average is 2.41, yet there are calls for a role reversal in net even while the Blackhawks remain amongst one of the best teams in the NHL.
During this week’s three games, Corey Crawford went 2-0-1 and bolstered a .916 save percentage alongside an average of 2.22 goals allowed per game. Against the Boston Bruins, Crawford was excellent, making a number of saves in front of heavy traffic. Those close stops came from all angles and added up to Crawford making 34 saves in regulation and overtime along wit two more to seal a victory in the shootout.
Going forward, the Blackhawks face some good, albeit not great, competition in the form of the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks’ defensemen have done a great job in front of Crawford all season, ranking third in the NHL in shots allowed per game.
Detroit is still reeling from injuries and finds themselves 17th in the NHL in shots per game. They are 21st in goals per game and incredibly average, having a goal for/against ratio of 1.01. Minnesota also ranks 27th in shots per game and 26th in goals per game, but they have a better goal for/against ratio thanks to their defensive prowess.
Overall, this is Corey Crawford’s opportunity to prove he will be ready for another playoff push. Although it wasn’t a shutout, Crawford was dominant against the Bruins. It marked his first elite performance in recent memory and hopefully sparks a string of incredible performances before the Olympic break.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486