Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Crawford Earns NHL’s No. 1 Star

By Colin Likas

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford received some respect and appreciation outside of Chicago? Pack up the canned vegetables and take cover, because the apocalypse is nigh.

Yes, Crow has received the NHL’s first star for the previous week, sealing that honor with his second consecutive shutout victory Sunday against Vancouver, third victory of the week and fourth in a row. This is the third time in Crow’s career he’s been named a Star of the Week by the league, the last time dating back to the opening week of the lockout-shortened 2013 season. But it’s the first time he’s a first star.

Crow is a key reason the Blackhawks have seen as much success as they have this season, another key reason being Patrick Kane — who was named the league’s first star of the month for November. But Crow really shone this most recent week after a few tough outings against so-so competition.

If you go back to Nov. 21, Crawford was lit up for six goals — mostly at the hands of Daniel and Henrik Sedin — in a 6-3 loss at Vancouver. On Dec. 3, he permitted four goals in a 4-3 overtime defeat at Ottawa. Since that loss to the Senators, however, he’s been lights out.

Against Winnipeg two Sundays ago (this game didn’t factor into his award win), Crow permitted one goal on 31 shots as the Blackhawks topped the Jets. Then, in probably his most impressive game of the week last Tuesday, he was shelled all night but allowed just a single goal on 37 Nashville shots, lifting Chicago to a 4-1 win.

After Scott Darling received no help in net against Nashville two nights later, Crow was back at it again Friday against Winnipeg, notching his third shutout of the season while making 25 saves. And last night, he turned in a 30-save shutout to push the Blackhawks once more.

So to say Crow is deserving of this award would be an understatement. I was saddled with a Canadian feed of last night’s game, and while I couldn’t find myself agreeing with some of what the broadcast team was saying, whenever they recognized Crow as the Blackhawks’ best player in recent games, I certainly couldn’t disagree.

Overall, Crow’s numbers for last week were 3-0-0, .989, 0.33, which are obviously absurd statistics. He theoretically can bulk up a little more on his overall stats, which sit at 15-7-2, .924, 2.23, as the Blackhawks have some middling opponents coming up on their schedule (Colorado, Edmonton, Buffalo and San Jose).

The second star of the week was Edmonton left wing Taylor Hall, who notched three goals and three assists to help the Oilers reel off a couple wins and complete a 5-0-0 homestand. The third star was Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk, who — if you had the same Canadian feed of last night’s game as I did — you may have heard leads the league in powerplay strikes. He also had three goals and three assists last week.