The Chicago Blackhawks are a very star laden team. They have arguably the best Captain in Jonathan Toews and one the best players in the NHL in Patrick Kane. That is in addition to stars Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. The stars on the Blackhawks get a lot of credit and rightfully so. However one player on the Blackhawks does not get ENOUGH credit for what he does for the Blackhawks. That player is Corey Crawford.
Corey Crawford does not get the respect from the media and from fans that he rightfully deserves. Over the last two seasons, Crawford has proved that he is an X-factor for the Blackhawks. Last season Crawford was 19-5-5 with a .926 save percentage and 1.94 goals against average. During the Blackhawks Stanley cup championship Crawford went 16-7 with a .932 save percentage and 1.84 goals against average. Crawford transcended the Blackhawks in the playoffs. These playoffs are a similar story for Crawford. Crawford is 8-4 with a .931 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average.
When the Blackhawks needed Crawford to take his game to another level, he has done just that. After losing two tough games to the Blues, Crawford shut out the Blues 2-0 in Game 3. After winning Game3 the Blackhawks would win the next three straight and the series. In the clinching Game 6, Crawford saved 35 of 36 shots he faced. The Blackhawks went onto to win 5-1.
In the series with the Wild after losing two straight and having the series tied at 2, Crawford once again rose to the occasion. In a series changing Game 5, Crawford stopped 27 of 28 shots he faced for a 2-1 victory over the Wild. In the series clinching Game 6, the Wild outplayed the Blackhawks for the majority of the game and overtime period; the difference in the game was Crawford. Crawford stopped 35 of 36 shots and bought enough time for Kane to end the game in Overtime.
When people think of the Blackhawks they think of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane (2) and Toews (4) have scored six game winning goals in these playoffs. People seem to overlook the fact that Crawford gave Kane and Toews the opportunity to score those game winners. Corey Crawford is the X-factor for the Blackhawks and might be the best underrated goalie in the playoffs.
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