Chicago Blackhawks’ Crawford Shines In Victory Over Canadiens
By Randy Holndoner
Corey Crawford shined for the Chicago Blackhawks against the team he grew up rooting for, the Montreal Canadiens, as he stopped 41 shots in a 3-1 victory Tuesday night. He improved his career record against Montreal to 8-0-2, with a .954 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against average.
On the 2017-18 season, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford faced the top three of the four teams in the Eastern Conference from last year in Pittsburgh, Columbus and Montreal. His record: 3-0-0 with a .971 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-allowed.
Pretty “solid” — as NBCSN’s broadcast team described him last night in the victory over Montreal — for a goaltender these days. Crawford is never mentioned as an elite goaltender. Sometimes he is not even mentioned as a top-10 goaltender.
Maybe it is because he doesn’t always make a flashy kick save or a sprawling dive to stop the puck from getting into his net. Some would consider him a “boring” goaltender, but he gets the job done.
It is possible that he doesn’t have as many highlight-reel saves because he is normally in position to make the save relatively easy, as long as he can see it.
Crow has seen a lot of rubber as a member of the Blackhawks. He is arguably one of the best goaltenders the Blackhawks have ever had with the likes of Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall and Ed Belfour.
Oddly enough, there are some Chicago fans that still complain about him and wish to see him leave, but that list is slowly dwindling away.
Crawford’s place in Blackhawks history
Crow is probably okay with that. He has two Stanley Cup wins to his name. No goaltender has ever won more than one with this franchise. In the 2013 championship season, Patrick Kane, the Conn Smythe winner for playoff MVP, even said that Crawford should have won the award.
Crawford, 32, has never finished higher than fifth in the Vezina Trophy race for best goalie. In six of his last seven seasons, he has won 30-plus games. In the season in between when he didn’t do so was the lockout-shortened season of 2013. In 30 games, he *only* won 19 of them.
Now in his 11th NHL season, all with the Blackhawks, Crawford keeps climbing the record books in Blackhawks franchise history. Among his stats, his club rankings are as follows for the regular season, courtesy of hockey.reference.com:
As for the playoffs, well, they are even better, courtesy of blackhawks.nhl.com:
Tuesday’s performance was a goalie win. He tends to have plenty of those. Last year alone, the Blackhawks were involved with a mind-boggling 42 games that were decided by one goal. Their record was 25-9-8 in those games. Not all had Crawford in net, but he played a big part in the ones that he did.
Through three games this year, he has faced, on average, 35.7 shots per game. That is by far too many shots to be facing. But, he did it last year, and in this early season he will be asked again to fend off the rubber.
Looking to the future
It doesn’t appear Crow is on the downside of his career based upon what we have seen so far. Entering this year, he has three years remaining on his contract. Backup goaltender Anton Forsberg, 24, was brought over in the Brandon Saad trade that sent Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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Forsberg is entering his first full year in the NHL. He’ll have a good mentor in Crawford for at least the next two seasons. From there, we will see. For now, Crawford will be the man between the pipes for the Blackhawks in hopes of bringing Lord Stanley back to Chicago.