Former Chicago Blackhawks goaltender and current NHL network analyst Darren Pang says Corey Crawford needs to make an adjustment with his glove as the Hawks and Boston Bruins prepare for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday.
"There are times shots are beating you in the same place and you're just off your angle," Pang said Friday at the United Center. "You need to make that little adjustment."
Crawford gave up five goals in a winning effort in Game 4 as the Hawks tied the series, but several scores went right past his glove and into the net. In fact, all five got by him on his glove side.
"Obviously they shot there a lot more than blocker side," Crawford said. "For me I can't start thinking about that. As a goalie you never want to be thinking out there, you just want to read and react."
Pang has been there before, as a goalie in the NHL from 1984-1989. He says he relied on his glove more than most but players today use it differently.
"When I watch a goaltender give up that many goals on his glove I relay it back to me," Pang explained. "What would I be feeling? Well, I'd really be disappointed in myself. How on earth can that puck keep going by there and what am I doing wrong? Where's my glove position?
"The strange thing for me is it's going middle of the net. It's not going high under the bar and it's not going along the ice. Just middle."
In other words these aren't incredibly placed shots getting by Crawford; they're good shots -- but stoppable.
"I wasn't really as sharp as I was the other games," Crawford said. "If there are some things on video to change, we'll change it."
Pang says Crawford might be starting with his glove too high and then making an "extra move" before bringing it to a position to make the save. If he starts with the glove lower it might make the upper half of the net look more inviting but forcing a shooter to go top shelf rather than middle of the net is probably the better way to go. That's a harder shot to place.
"I'm not sure if it was an aberration or not," Pang said. "We'll find out in Game 5."
Crawford's teammates have rightly come to his defense, claiming they wouldn't be in the position to win a Cup without Crawford. But they know what went on last game.
"I tried today and he stopped me glove side, so hopefully he's got it all figured out," Patrick Sharp said after Hawks practice Friday morning. "I don't know if that was the gameplan or if that's something they did on purpose and they were successful at it, but I like Corey in there. I've seen goals go in all different ways and I've seen him make saves all different ways. I like his chances against them."
As for Crawford, he's been answering as many questions after a win than he would have after a defeat. So far, he's taking it all in stride.
"Last year they were talking about my blocker," he joked sarcastically. "Both sides are bad I guess."