Dec 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalieCorey Crawford
(50) fails to make a save against Dallas Stars right wingValeri Nichushkin
(not pictured) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
I have read articles and tweets recently about how Corey Crawford is an average goal tender. I am writing tonight to put an end to that question. Corey Crawford is not an average goal tender; he is not an above average goal tender. He is a very good goal tender! That is right, I wrote it and now everyone of Crawford’s critics heads are exploding!
Crawford has shown over the last two seasons that he is clearly better than an average goal tender! Crawford should have silenced most of his critics with his play last season. Last season he put together an impressive regular season record. Crawford had a record of 19-5-5 with a 92.6% save percentage and 1.94 goals against.
If that didn’t convince people Crawford was a very good goal tender. His playoff performance should have won over everyone. Crawford outplayed three “elite” goalies in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Crawford outplayed Jimmy Howard in the Western Conference Semifinals. Howard who is wildly considered an elite goal tender in the Western Conference was outplayed by Crawford. Howard during the regular season put up a 21-13-7 record with 92.3% and 2.13 goals against. Howard’s playoff numbers were a save percentage of 92.4% and 2.44 goal against. Crawford’s numbers were better than that and when the Blackhawks needed Crawford the most he was his best.
In the next round, the Western Conference Finals, Crawford outplayed the Jonathan Quick the great . Quick who was the reigning Conn Symthe winner and regarded as the best goalie on the planet coming into that series. Quick was 18-13-4 with a 90.2% save percentage and 90.2%. In the playoffs Quick posted a 93.4% and 1.86 goals against. Quick was chased by the Blackhawks in Game 2 after four goals in 29 minutes. Crawford and the Blackhawks dispatched the Kings in five games.
In the Stanley Cup Finals, Crawford would out play the “Elite” Tuukka Rask. Rask was 19-10-5 with a 92.9% save percentage and 2.00 goals against. Every pundit in hockey, especially the NBC crew stated that Rask was the superior goalie in the finals. Rask posted a save percentage of 94.0% and 1.88 goals allowed. In the infamous glove side game of the Stanley Cup finals, every pundit on earth seemed to point out that Crawford allowed five goals. All of those pundits seemed to overlook the fact that Rask had allowed six goals. The Blackhawks would defeat the Bruins in six games largely due to the great play of Corey Crawford.
To Crawford’s credit, he put up better numbers in the playoffs than he did in the regular season. Crawford went 16-7 with a save percentage of 93.2% and goals against of 1.84. In case people didn’t notice it, 1.84 goals against was the best in the playoffs. Crawford also tied Rask least amount of goals allowed in the playoffs at 46 goals. Crawford was the best player in the playoffs last season. He should have won the Conn Sythme trophy just ask teammate Patrick Kane.
Now the Crawford critics will say that he played above his head in the playoffs and he is really not that good. Crawford did not let success go to his head, he currently leads the NHL with 17 wins. His overall record is 17-5-3 with a 91.3% and a 2.36 goals against on the season. In comparison, Howard is 6-7-6 with a 91.3% and a 2.57 this season. Quick is injured but he has a record of 10-5-0 with a save percentage of 90.5% and a 2.35 goals against. Rask is the only one with significantly better numbers than Crawford season. Rask is 14-6-2 with a save percentage of 93.5% and 1.90 goals against on the season.
If Crawford is such an AVERAGE goal tender, why does he have better number than three out of the four elite goal tenders in the NHL? The reason is simple. Crawford is a VERY GOOD goal tender.
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