Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has played some of his best games against Detroit, particularly at Joe Louis Arena, and he has no explanation as to why.
Does he see the puck better there?
“It is pretty bright over there,” Crawford joked.
Crawford is 11-2-2 lifetime against the Red Wings with a 1.82 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.
“I can’t explain it,” Crawford said. “I think there were teams I didn’t do so well against my first year and then played well against them last year. Really, I don’t know. They throw a lot of pucks at the net, too.”
Crawford was the Hawks’ best player in the first round against Minnesota, which plays a much slower game than the Red Wings.
“At times, Minnesota, their pace was pretty quick,” Crawford said. “I think with Detroit, it’s just a different way they approach it offensively. When they get in the other team’s zone their forwards are a little more shifty and a little more creative.
“We know what they can bring. They’re good at skating, puck possession, skill guys who are fast. Obviously, we know what they can do, but we’re more worried about ourselves.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville thinks you can throw Crawford’s numbers out the window now that it’s the playoffs.
“Some (goalies) do have a record that looks like it’s favorable, but you can throw that out when you begin playoffs,” Quenneville said. “With him it was nice getting that first-round win.
“I just thought he played a real strong playoff round for us. We’ve just told him to keep doing what he’s doing.”
Stalberg in doghouse?
Brandon Saad was back at left wing on the Hawks’ top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa at practice Monday, but Viktor Stalberg still was skating with the extras.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was asked if Stalberg could be a healthy scratch in Game 1 against Detroit.
“We’ll see,” is all Quenneville said.
Ben Smith skated in Stalberg’s spot on the third line with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell.
Dave Bolland was in the middle on the second line with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp since Michal Handzus was having a maintenance day, according to Quenneville.
Turn back the clock:
The last time the Hawks met Detroit in the playoffs was in the 2009 Western Conference finals.
The Red Wings won a five-game series that saw three games go to overtime.
Seven current Hawks were on that team that was eliminated on a Brian Campbell turnover in overtime that resulted in a goal by Mikael Samuelsson.
Ten current Red Wings were on the 2009 team. Goalie Jimmy Howard wasn’t on the playoff roster in 2009, but he was with the Red Wings as one of their Black Aces.
“Being a Black Ace, I was sort of waiting for this opportunity to be able to play a playoff series at the United Center,” Howard said. “It was so much fun when you’re sitting there as a Black Ace watching the guys play that I’m thankful I get a chance to be part of this rivalry.
“It’s going to be another really hard-fought series. We’re going to have our hands full, let’s be honest. They’re a very deep team at every position. And our top guys are going to have to be our top guys.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.