The Chicago Blackhawks are on a four-game winning streak and now find themselves in first place of the tough Central Division
Well, Chicago Blackhawks fans, we’re through the first 10 games of the year. The offense has been blazing and defense has been solid for the most part, but who has been the backbone of the ’Hawks’ recent success? Goaltender Corey Crawford.
It’s time to lay all doubt to rest
Crawford’s off to another solid start this year with a .936 SV% and 2.01 GAA. Although these stats aren’t exactly eye-popping or league leading, it’s worth mentioning that Crawford has posted two shutouts this year and has been incredible in net all season long. He is without a doubt locked in!
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The Chicago Blackhawks have been outshot by opponents in seven of the first 11 games of season. Not very Blackhawks-like, if you will.
However, Chicago still boasts a 7-3-1 record. Crawford has already faced 281 shots and has stopped 263 on the year, good for fourth most behind Edmonton’s Cam Talbot, who leads the way
So, how have the ‘Hawks been able to hold off opponents while being outmuscled in the shots category? Corey Crawford.
Do you see a trend here?
Crawford has by far been the most underrated goaltender in the NHL for several years now, despite winning two Stanley Cups, two Jennings trophies — shared with teammate Ray Emery (2012-13) and Montreal’s Carey Price (2014-15) — and now a World Cup Championship victory earned with Team Canada last summer.
Crawford even led the league with seven shutouts last season, and yet still no love shown to Crow. Crawford finishing fifth in the Vezina Trophy race last year was when I found myself really questioning the judgement of most around the league. Braden Holtby deserved the trophy hands down, but fifth? Really guys?
Why so much skepticism?
Crawford’s numbers don’t lie. The 31-yera-old is a proven force in the league. The problem here seems to lie with the other core players taking the bulk of all the glory from recent success, but certainly not intentionally.
With big names like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, etc., Crawford’s name seems to fade from conversation with all major networks and experts of the game.
Crawford is without a doubt a top-three goaltender in the NHL, and absolutely deserves every cent of his six-year, $36 million contract. The Montreal Canadiens may have Price, who is undoubtedly outstanding, but the Chicago Blackhawks possess a highly talented goalie in Crawford who I would put up against any team, in any situation, on any given night.
Corey Crawford for the 2016-17 Vezina Trophy. You heard it here first!