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updated: 4/27/2013 12:32 AM

Strong finish to season for Crawford

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  • Michal Rozsival, left, of the Czech Republic, Brandon Bollig (52) and goalie Corey Crawford defend the net as Calgary's Ben Street, center, tries to score during the first period Friday.

    Michal Rozsival, left, of the Czech Republic, Brandon Bollig (52) and goalie Corey Crawford defend the net as Calgary's Ben Street, center, tries to score during the first period Friday.
    Associated Press


Consider Corey Crawford ready for the playoffs.

The Blackhawks' No. 1 goaltender solidified his standing for the postseason with a 25-save performance in Friday's 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames at the United Center.

"I thought he was outstanding," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought he was sharp, quick and he had some high quality opportunities against him. He anticipated well. I thought he had a good finish, but the last couple games were outstanding.

"The consistency of our goaltending has been the strength of our team."

The Hawks (36-6-5) finished the home portion of their schedule 19-3-2, taking 40 out of a possible 48 points. They close out the season Saturday night at St. Louis, where Carter Hutton is expected to make his NHL debut while Crawford gets the night off.

"These games still mean a lot," Crawford said. "We want to be playing our best hockey and we don't want to take anything too lightly. It's hard when you get away from your game to try to get it going again, especially in the playoffs."

Crawford will finish the season 19-5-5.

"I felt really good," Crawford said. "The last few games have gone really well for me, not just me, the team too. It's nice to finish strong and carry some momentum into the playoffs."

The Hawks still don't know which team they will face in the first round and won't until the games on Saturday are complete.

Minnesota missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot in the Western Conference by choking at home Friday in a 6-1 loss to Edmonton. The Wild close their regular season Saturday at Colorado while Detroit plays at Dallas and Columbus hosts Nashville.

It still could be any of those three teams -- Detroit, Minnesota or Columbus -- in the first round for the Hawks.

"We worked very hard to get where we are right now and get first place and home ice going into the first round," Jonathan Toews said. "The second season, so to speak, starts next week and we want to make sure we're playing our best hockey coming up here."

The Hawks took a 2-0 lead out of the first period on goals by Patrick Kane and Toews.

Kane got his 23rd goal of the season at 9:34 when he took a pass from Patrick Sharp and beat goalie Joey MacDonald.

That gave Kane the team lead in goals for all of four minutes because Toews got his 23rd at 13:02 on a Brandon Saad rebound.

"It would have been nice to get 1 more than him," said Kane, who likely won't be in the lineup against the Blues along with Toews and a few other Hawks. "It's been a fun little run here at the end of the season. It seemed like it was 1 goal that separated us here and there. He had a great season and props to him for leading the team the way he did."

Kane had 23 goals all of last season. He got his 23rd this time in the 47th game of the season.

After the Flames got within 2-1 on a short-handed goal by Chris Butler, the Hawks regained their 2-goal lead in the third period when Marcus Kruger scored to snap a 32-game drought.

• Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at

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