After losses in the first two games of the series, Corey Crawford was getting heat from Chicago Blackhawks fans. This is a year after Crawford helped the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup in 4 years — what was the problem? Well, giving up a total of 8 goals in two games against the St. Louis Blues, two of which were in overtime kind of caused it. But Crawford had kept the Hawks in those games. Ever since then, Crawford has been amazing.
Let’s start with Game 3. After Game 2, Crawford said he needed to be “better.” It was a little difficult to understand why, but no one is confused about the result. Crawford stopped all 34 shots in a 2-0 victory. While his offense didn’t pick up the slack, Crawford’s performance may have turned the series around. The Hawks won the next two games, albeit in overtime. But even in those two games, Crawford’s performance has been amazing.
Of course, he’s done the little things, too. That includes stopping play when needed and preventing rebounds/second chances. It’s stopped the Blues’ offense and allowed the Hawks to stay in the games.
With the way the Blues have been attacking the net, Crawford has had to not just stand on his head, but do backflips, twirls and triple axles to stop the Blues’ shots. Just look at the stick save he made against TJ Oshie in Game 5. The Scottrade Center tech guys though Oshie had scored a goal and turned on one of the spotlights! Crawford’s nack for recovering from bad goals is most certainly useful. But it may have saved the Hawks’ season.
Crawford’s performance ever since Game 2 has been amazing. The Blues have attacked his net non-stop, but he’s stopped as many shots as he can. Sure, some have gone in (including one worthy of a SportsCenter Top 10), but had he not been playing the way he’s been, the Blues could have easily run away with this series.
Hockey is a team game, but when a team loses, it’s usually the goalie who gets all the blame, whether it’s deserved or not. Crawford did not deserve blame for the first two loses, but he deserves a ton of credit for the games coming after that. A shutout can lead to a lot of good things, after all.