Goaltender Corey Crawford has once again made headlines at the will of his glove hand. Except tonight, those headlines will revolve around what he kept in his glove, rather than what he let go by it.
Almost a year after the Chicago Blackhawks netminder helped his team win the Stanley Cup, Crawford is still one of the most underrated goalies in the NHL. If anything in Chicago ever goes wrong, No. 50 is consistently the first to be thrown under the bus regardless of whether the man is deserving or not.
The criticism is a funny thing considering all Crawford does for his team, and all the times he has kept them in the game when they seem completely set on keeping themselves out of it. He once again proved why on Sunday night. Without his sheer force of body blockage, stick usage, pad saves and that glove hand during an insane third period, the Minnesota Wild would be pushing elimination on the favored Blackhawks.
While it certainly takes goals to actually create leads and win games, it takes a great goaltender to preserve the lead until the end. Crawford’s showing in net not only held the goal advantage for the Blackhawks through the last part of the game, but he further proved why a team that has won two Stanley Cups in four years keeps him around.
And so Crawford and his Hawks now sit one win away from the Western Conference Final. And if his glove hand has anything to say about it, Minnesota’s postseason might be coming to a close very soon.