Blackhawks look to Crawford again


CHICAGO -- Goaltender Corey Crawford has saved the day for the Chicago Blackhawks before.

Crawford allowed just five goals on 91 shots for a .945 save percentage in the final three games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals last season to help the Blackhawks overcome a 3-1 series deficit. He stopped 51 of 54 shots in a three-overtime win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals last season. He denied the St. Louis Blues on all 34 of their shots in Game 3 of the first round this postseason after the Blues had a 2-0 series lead.

There are many games that could fit that list in the past two seasons.

On Wednesday, the Blackhawks will look for Crawford to have a similar performance. Chicago faces elimination Wednesday as the Los Angeles Kings hold a 3-1 series advantage in the Western Conference finals.

“I think we’re going to need him to be really good, and we need that tomorrow night,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Tuesday.

Quenneville described Crawford as “all right” during the series so far.

Crawford began the series strong by making 25 saves on 26 shots in a 3-1 Game 1 victory. From there, it’s gone downhill for him and the Blackhawks. They have been outscored 15-7 in three consecutive losses, and Crawford has allowed 13 goals and had a .842 save percentage during the span.

Crawford has been a different goalie in Chicago's wins and losses in the playoffs this season. He has a .869 save percentage (185-of-213) in the Blackhawks' seven playoff losses this season. He's made 260 saves on 272 shots for a .956 save percentage in their nine wins.

Quenneville didn’t point the finger at Crawford when asked about his play prior to Game 4.

“He's been excellent for us all playoffs,” Quenneville said. “They have some guys that we saw even in the first game that can make plays. They've got some finish. I think that's the difference in probably the first two rounds. Now they got two lines that are very dangerous offensively. They got a back end that's pretty active. I think it's a good hockey team out there, so let's make sure that the quality and the quantity we cut back.”

That, and having Crawford step up again will be the game plan again on Wednesday.