The Chicago Blackhawks’ starting goaltender is getting his due — somewhat — with an award from the NHL
We’ve been talking a bit on Blackhawk Up about how important Corey Crawford has been to the Chicago Blackhawks’ strong start. Apparently, a few other people took notice as well.
The NHL released its weekly honors Monday, and Crawford was named the league’s second star. He is coming off a perfect week in which he allowed just three goals across three victories.
Crow posted a save percentage of .971 and a goals-allowed average of 1.00 as the Blackhawks upended Calgary 5-1, Colorado 4-0 and Dallas 3-2.
You’ll notice one of those victories was a shutout, Crow’s second of the season and 21st of his career. It was no pushover of a game, either, as he had to contend with 38 shots from the Avalanche.
The other two victories for Crow also saw him facing a high volume of shots, as he turned away 33 pucks against the Flames and 31 more versus the Stars.
Crow giving the Blackhawks what they need — and more
The initial concern this season wasn’t with Crow at even strength. The guy has been a monster in that department all season, as the two even-strength tallies he permitted against the Stars on Saturday were just the fourth and fifth he’s allowed since the campaign started.
Think about that. Just five of the 20 goals Crow has allowed this season have come in regular, 5-on-5 action. Unsustainable, certainly, but that’s something worth championing.
The concern, of course, was on the powerplay. Crow and his teammates were getting shellacked in that department through a couple weeks. But things appear to have gotten better of late, despite the penalty-killing unit’s recent run of success ending last night with a goal allowed to Dallas.
All that said, here are some of the league-comparison stats for Crow: tied for fourth in wins (six), eighth in goals-against average (2.01), seventh in save percentage (.936) and tied for third in shutouts (two).
Imagine if the penalty kill hadn’t been so retched earlier this season. He’d probably be leading the league all four of those categories.
Blackhawks should enjoy this while they can
While previous seasons and the start to this one have proven Crow is an elite-level goaltender, the Blackhawks can’t expect him to dominate opponents this thoroughly all season.
Remember last year, when Crow was hurt in the season’s second half and Scott Darling had to come on. Darling was pretty good in extended relief, but when Crow returned, he wasn’t quite the same as he had been earlier in the year.
He was still plenty good in the playoffs, but things like that go to show success in the NHL can be a very fickle thing. The Blackhawks would be best served cashing in on Crow’s while they can and piling up some more victories.
That’s not to say Crow might just go supernova all season, but you have to imagine there’s some sort of dropoff at some point — even a small one. Crow’s been that good thus far.
To round out the league honors, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov received the first star (three goals, four assists in three games last week), while the Rangers’ Kevin Hayes collected the third star (four goals, two assists in four games).