Chicago Blackhawks Corey Crawford Returns to Form.

By Sean Fitzgerald

May 3, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) is congratulated by center Jonathan Toews (19) following the third period in game two of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks were hoping that when Corey Crawford was inserted into Game six, he would return to form. He would become the Crawford from the regular season. The Crawford the Blackhawks could trust in net to make the big saves when needed. He stopped all the shots, he faced but none in a real high pressure situation. In the regular season, Crawford’s save percentage during season was .924 and goals against average was 2.27 . That is the highest of his career for a full season. ( His save percentage was .926 in the lockout year but only in 30 games). In these playoffs, Crawford has a save percentage is .895 and a goal against average 3.13. Everyone just wanted Crawford to play like he did earlier this year.

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In Game one, Crawford was not very steady. He allowed three goals on 33 shots for a save percentage of .909. The Blackhawks offense bailed out Crawford by scoring four goals.  It was alarming to see that type of performance after how he struggled in the first round against Nashville. Without the excellent play of fellow Scott Darling, Crawford would not even been given another start in the playoffs. The story was the first game was troubling.

Game two was a different story. The old Crawford showed up. Crawford was huge for the Blackhawks. The second period might have been his best period of the playoffs. Crawford made two crucial saves when the Blackhawks lead was only one goal. Crawford went onto make 30 of 31 saves. The lone goal he did allow to start the third period, Crawford would like to have back. The other than the soft goal, Crawford played like the Crawford of old. The offense again did their job by scoring four goals and that was more than enough for Crawford to seal the victory. There was one scary moment in the game, Crawford took a puck to the face mask and appeared dazed. In his dazed state, he still made two saves. Sadly that new mask will now have to be retired.

It might not be a stretch to say that Crawford needed a performance like that to reassure everyone that we can trust him. We need Crawford to defeat Minnesota. Last season Crawford stole Game 6 in Minnesota last season to win that series. Without Crawford the Blackhawks would have not won that series. The Excel Energy center is a tough place to play and will need Crawford once again to steal again for the Blackhawks.

Based on his play in Game two, I believe Crawford is ready.

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