The Chicago Blackhawks and Corey Crawford won a very pivotal game on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues. Crawford made many timely saves, and issued a 2-0 shutout against the Blues. In the first two games of the series, he allowed 4 goals. Not only that, but he gave up two late game tying goals (GTG) within the last two minutes. The latter was in the last six seconds.
In the first game, the game went through two full overtimes before Alexander Steen found the back of the net early in the third OT. In that game, Crawford made 48 saves. In the second game, he made 27 saves. The GTG was given up during a Blues power play brought on by Brent Seabrook’s huge hit on David Backes. When it was scored, there were only 6.6 seconds remaining. Both GTG’s, were questionable on Crawford’s part. Both could have been avoided had he been on top of his game. Not only were the GTG’s questionable, but some of the earlier goals were too. In his defense though, the Blues put big bodies in front of the net and were screening well, making it very difficult for him to see the puck.
In game 3, it was a different story. Crawford was ready to play and focused on stopping anything and everything that came his way. The Blackhawks defense played better and stopped the Blues from setting so many screens in front of Crawford. It also seemed that he was seeing the puck much better than in the first 2 games. Crawford said he hasn’t been playing well at all the first 2 games and he took responsibility for the goals allowed. In the shutout, Crawford made an impressive 34 saves.
Crawford needs to be near perfect for the rest of this series. The Blues still have a 2-1 series lead, and after the game in Chicago on Wednesday, the series goes back to St. Louis. Game 4, in my opinion, is the most important game of this series, and if Crawford isn’t at the very top of his game, the Blackhawks will be in big trouble.