Blackhawks fans may have been concerned after goaltender Corey Crawford allowed 5 glove-side goals in Game 4 last Wednesday, but Crawford and his teammates weren’t sweating it too much.
“We get a lot of the same questions about Corey and we give the same answer: that we’re not really worried about him,” Patrick Sharp said. “He’s been strong for us all season long. Whether he lets in 5 goals in Game 4 or shuts the door, we know we’re going to get a good performance from him and we did tonight.”
Crawford rebounded from his Game 4 performance to stop 24 of the 25 shots he faced Saturday in a 3-1 victory over the Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the United Center. He saved all 16 shots he faced through two periods as the Hawks built a 2-0 lead.
“Crow played a good game today and, as defensemen, I think we kept it simple and our forwards got the puck deep,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “We got a couple of good shifts on them and I think wore them down a little bit.”
“He played awesome tonight and made some great saves,” said defenseman Duncan Keith, who led the Hawks in ice time with 27:45. “Corey was awesome the whole game.”
Crawford was beaten only once, by a one-timed laser off the stick of hard-shooting defenseman Zdeno Chara 3:40 into the third period. The slapper, set up by an assist from David Krejci, was a blast any NHL goaltender would have been hard-pressed to keep from whizzing by.
However, that was it for the Bruins. Crawford stopped the other 8 shots he faced in the third period as the Blackhawks grabbed a 3-2 series lead heading back to Boston for Game 6 on Monday.
“I think it was a big effort by everyone to come back, play defensively, sacrifice their bodies to block pucks and quickly get on top,” said Crawford, spreading the credit.
So did he hear the criticism between Games 4 and 5?
“I’m not really listening to it,” he said. “I have a job to do and what’s being said isn’t really going to affect what I do on the ice.”
Nothing changed in Crawford’s day-to-day preparation between games.
“He didn’t change his approach or demeanor the last couple of days,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He seemed to have the same approach he’s had all year.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.