Hawks Crawford motivated by playoff setbacks
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has yet to watch replays of the 2 goals he let Phoenix' Mikkel Boedker score in overtime in Games 3 and 4 last spring in the NHL playoffs.
"I don't need to look at them. I remember it pretty well," Crawford said with a slight laugh. "It's something that's going to motivate me. I'm a competitive guy, and I want to do the job."
Crawford remembers getting caught in between, as he called it, on both game-winning goals. In Game 3, Boedker beat him from a bad angle left. The Game 4 winner was even worse, a flip that found its way into the net.
"It's kind of hard to forget about that, but I'm just trying to use it to get better," Crawford said. "It was something where I kind of got in between on plays and I just have to make sure when I do something it's 100 percent. When you get in between on something that's when those kinds of goals are going to go in. I just have to be confident in what I'm doing and stick with it."
Crawford had a 30-17-7 record last year, his second in the Hawks' net, with a 2.72 goals-against average and .903 save percentage, but it's the 2 goals by Boedker that fans remember vividly.
"Look at my record last year," Crawford said. "I still won 30 games, but obviously there were times when I could have been more consistent. That's what I'm looking for this year, to have that consistency where I give this team a chance every night. We can score a lot of goals, so I just have to make sure that I don't let things get out of hand where we have to score 4 goals just to get back in the game."
It's a big year for Crawford, who is in the second year of a three-year contract.
"Every year is big, but especially this year," Crawford said. "Maybe some people (are going to remember those 2 goals in the playoffs), but other people think about the good things I've done and they believe I can do the job.
"Obviously, being human, you tend to look at negative stuff, but I can't be thinking about that. I just have to move on and take that and learn from it that in those situations stuff like that can't go in."
Coach Joel Quenneville remains solidly in Crawford's corner and is happy to see he is using those goals he allowed in the playoffs as motivation.
"Goalies are all looking forward to stopping the next puck and the next challenge," Quenneville said. "He's putting his focus in the right areas, knowing that expectations are there as well. I think it's part of the growth of a goaltender.
"That second year seems to be … guys like him who come in as a rookie and have a strong year like he did, the second year is a little challenging for them. I think you learn off that as well. He's in a position now with some more experience that he should excited where he's at."
Quenneville hasn't forgotten Crawford's full body of work from last season.
"Had a couple real good stretches," Quenneville said. "He's been fine. I think that over the course of his short career here, we think that he can win games and he gives us some predictability and gives us some size. Obviously, we're in the winning business, but we know the importance of goaltending this year. We like his demeanor and approach going into the season. He's excited and we're going to count on him and I think he can get the job done."
Crawford has yet to find out how many of the Hawks' 48 games he will play, but it's going to be a large chunk.
"Sleep, eating right and recovery after a game is all going to be important this season," Crawford said.
• Follow Tim's Blackhawks and hockey reports on Twitter@TimSassone, and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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