Crawford comes through in the end
June, 20, 2013
By Scott Powers
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesIt wasn't Corey Crawford's best night, but he did enough to make it a successful night.BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford kept pushing his mind beyond the thought of each goal he allowed in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
That wasn't an easy task because Crawford had to do it five separate times, but he kept focusing on the next task before him and eventually was rewarded as the Blackhawks pulled out a 6-5 overtime win at TD Garden and evened the series at 2-2.
"Just stick with it, stick with it," said Crawford, who hadn't previously allowed more than four goals in a playoff game this season. "No matter what happens, there will be nights where it's high scoring. We all stuck with it. No matter how many goals go in, you have to be able to pull through."
Crawford went to that mentality one final time when the Bruins erased a 5-4 deficit and tied the game at 12:14 of the third period on a goal by defenseman Johnny Boychuk. The Bruins had undoubtedly regained the momentum before their sold-out crowd, but Crawford dug deep once again.
Over the final seven-plus minutes of the third period and nearly 10 minutes of overtime, Crawford did what he had done for most of the playoffs -- stop shots. Finally, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook ended everyone's night by scoring at 9:51 of overtime. Crawford finished with 28 saves, including 11 over the final two periods.
With the win, Crawford improved to 14-7 with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in the playoffs this season. Wednesday's game marked just the third time in the playoffs he had allowed more than three goals in a game.
One area that did bother Crawford was the glove-side goals he gave up to the Bruins in Game 4. He said he also had to move beyond that.
"It's pretty obvious," Crawford said. "I can't start thinking about it; that's when I get myself in trouble if I start thinking about that. ... I'm just going to keep playing my game, prepare the way I have and play the way I play. I can't start thinking they're going to go glove every time. If they end up switching it up, then I'm in trouble."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said his confidence in Crawford never wavered.
"Corey has been great for us all year, all playoffs," Quenneville said. "He just moves forward. Commend him. We got the win. You know, he'll be fine."
Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp held the same belief in Crawford. While the numbers suggested Crawford had a rough night, Sharp said otherwise.
"I don't even think about Crawford anymore to be honest with you, with what we're getting out of him back there," Sharp said. "He's going to make the saves. He's going to keep us in games. It doesn't matter if he lets in five or one. He's playing a great game for us."