Early returns good for Crawford
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Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is 5-1-2 on the young season with a .921 save percentage.
So far, so good for Corey Crawford in his quest to be one of the three goaltenders named to the Canadian Olympic team.
Here we are almost a month into the season and Crawford's is 5-1-2 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. He has allowed 2 or fewer goals in six of those games.
Only Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury had better numbers through games of Tuesday. Fleury was 7-1-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
Crawford was ahead of every other goalie in the mix:
•Vancouver's Roberto Luongo: 5-3-1, 2.63 GAA and .906 save percentage.
•Phoenix's Mike Smith: 5-2-2, 2.74 GAA and .916 save percentage.
•Montreal's Carey Price: 4-4-1, 2.27 GAA and .932 save percentage.
•Washington's Braden Holtby: 3-4-0, 3.03 GAA and .913 save percentage.
•Carolina's Cam Ward: 2-2-3, 2.84 GAA and .910 save percentage.
"Crow has been good," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters after Tuesday's win at Florida. "He gives us a chance every night."
Crawford went to his first Team Canada orientation camp in Calgary in August and came away pleased with how it went.
He won't have the chance to impress Team Canada executive director Stave Yzerman on Thursday since Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start against Yzerman's Lightning.
It's still early and a lot could change between now and when the Olympic team is selected around Christmas, but a good start certainly won't hurt Crawford.
Kostka out 4-6 weeks:
The Hawks will be without defenseman Mike Kostka for 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury suffered after Tuesday's morning skate.
Kostka appeared in two games and scored his first NHL goal in Saturday's 3-1 win over Toronto, his former team.
The Hawks still have seven defensemen on the roster. At this time they will finish the road trip through Florida with 21 skaters.
It's the first significant injury of the season for the Hawks.
"When the extra guys were skating out there he got hit," Joel Quenneville told reporters on Wednesday. "You get tested, you get challenged. We had eight defensemen and we were working three guys in the one spot. He was coming off a real good game."
Kostka had been rotating with Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank in the sixth defense spot.
Quenneville said the injury would not require surgery.
The Hawks are 6-1-2 after nine games despite going the last eight third periods without scoring a goal.
"I don't think we're frustrated," Joel Quenneville told reporters after the win in Florida. "If we were cheating and giving up a million chances we might be, but for the most part we're doing the right things.
"There's enough offense in our group, we've just got to find it. I know it's there."
On Thursday, Quenneville called it a fluky stat.
"It's a strange stat," Quenneville told reporters. "To nail the trend, I can't give you the concrete answer why. I don't think we're going into a shell even though it might look that way, because we're playing the same way."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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