Crawford did best to rescue Turco, Hawks

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
12:31
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
DENVER -- Make no mistake. Despite losing the game in the final minutes, Corey Crawford had another good showing. And his coach agreed.

“He made some huge saves,” Joel Quenneville said after the Blackhawks’ 7-5 loss at the Pepsi Center on Monday. “He was solid. He gave us a chance for sure. He did a great job in relief.”

Crawford took over 0:48 into the second period. He stopped all 10 shots he saw the rest of that period, after Marty Turco gave up four goals on 10 shots before getting pulled. Crawford made seven more saves in the third, but couldn’t make the last two.

[+] EnlargeBlackhawks
Michael Martin/NHLI/Getty ImagesColorado scored three late goals to send the Blackhawks to a stunning defeat on Monday.
“It’s brutal,” Crawford said. “Oh my god. No one wants to lose like that. We had all the momentum. Wow. We just fell apart in the last two minutes there.”

As for Turco, it’s clear he is struggling mentally as much as he’s struggling to stop pucks. He said as much before the game.

“Tonight the only battle will be turning the brain off, because it's been on for a little while,” he said.

Turco must be thinking of his mortality as a starting goaltender. Is his time coming to an end? The answer is pretty obvious.

“We’ll see,” Quenneville said. “He’s a pro. He’s been around. We’ll see how he handles getting himself ready to go again.”

But when will that be? Quenneville has already gone against the grain twice in starting Turco during a hot stretch for Crawford. That’s usually a coach’s no-no. He almost got away with it on Monday, making the switch to Crawford before things got out of hand. But in the end it didn’t happen. Quenneville won’t make the same mistake a third time.

“You’re always going forward,” Quenneville said. “Crawford is playing well. We’ll talk about it as we go along here. He’s been playing well.”

Translation: Crawford is getting the net on Wednesday for the rematch.

It might get lost in the defeat, but before the breakdowns at the end, Crawford was playing a great game. In the second period he flashed his glove on Kevin Porter to snare a top-shelf attempt. Then, in the third, it was Paul Stastny, David Jones, and Tomas Fleischmann who would be denied.

But those saves don’t make up for the two late goals. The tying one might keep Crawford up late.

“I think it hit something in front there,” a stunned Crawford explained. “It was just like a floater that came in here and kind of sinking a little bit. I don’t know what happened. I just missed it.”

Turco’s problems are similar to Cristobal Huet’s before him: He’s not bailing out his team when mistakes happen in front of him.

Jake Dowell and Brent Seabrook had brutal turnovers, but Turco could not succeed as the last line of defense.

No goalie will stop all of the mistakes but all goalies have to stop some -- or most. Turco is doing neither.

Injury update: Quenneville said Fernando Pisani and Marian Hossa skated back in Chicago on Monday. He did not have a timetable for when they would appear in a game. Quenneville also said Patrick Kane might try to skate as early as Wednesday.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26