Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: How Stanley Cup Game 5 Was Won

By Colin Likas
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Arguably the tightest Stanley Cup Finals in recent — or long-term — memory added another chapter Saturday, and the Chicago Blackhawks are now one win away from their third Stanley Cup in six years following another 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This series probably couldn’t be any closer, and for the ’Hawks to walk out of Tampa with a second road win, and another 2-1 victory, was a big accomplishment. After the ’Hawks flew out of the gates in the opening 20 on Saturday, the Lightning spent the second and third periods responding, and the game turned into a wild back-and-forth affair we’ve come to expect.

So how did the ’Hawks pull out another of these victories? Many reasons, among them Victor Hedman comically running into goaltender Ben Bishop to give Patrick Sharp a straight shot at an open net. But Chicago won this game on its own merits as well.

Jun 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) in goal in the second period game five of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Crawford was sensational. All the anti-Crow trolls are slowly receding into the pit from which they came. The oft-maligned Chicago goaltender was at his best Saturday, stopping 31 of 32 shots and earning the top star on the road. As has been the case throughout this series, Crow used his sound positioning and willingness to rely on assists from Chicago defenders to keep the Bolts mostly off the scoreboard. There wasn’t a ton he could have done on the goal he permitted, though he arguably made saves on tougher shots throughout the night.

Even when he made an error — playing the puck right onto the stick of Nikita Kucherov in the opening frame — he sprawled back across the crease to stop a Tampa scoring bid. Looking at the stats once more, Crow stopped all six high-danger shots sent his way, as well as one of seven medium-danger bids, according to War on Ice. Compare that to Bishop’s 5-for-7 performance on high-danger shots, and you have the difference in the game.