Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford happy to be one better than Rask
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org June 19, 2013 11:32PM
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Updated: June 20, 2013 4:36PM
BOSTON — Undaunted and as confident as he is after a shutout, Corey Crawford offered no apologies Wednesday night, and didn’t have to. He wasn’t great. He wasn’t even very good. All he did was allow one less goal than the other guy.
‘‘Those games are going to happen once in a while,’’ said Crawford after he allowed five goals in the Blackhawks’ 6-5 overtime victory against the Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. ‘‘That was an amazing effort by our guys. [They] battled hard in front of me. We scored a ton of goals. It was one of those games where you just kind of stick with it, brush it off and get ready for the next shot.’’
Crawford came into Game 4 with a 1.73 goals against average and .936 save percentage — both second best in the playoffs behind the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask. But he clearly struggled in Game 4, allowing five goals on the first 27 shots he faced, including Johnny Boychuk’s slap shot that beat Crawford to his glove side to tie the game 5-5 with 7:46 left in regulation.
But Crawford was good enough, stopping the next seven shots he faced until Brent Seabrook’s goal in overtime made him the winning goalie.
‘‘I was pretty pumped,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘It was a bomb. He’s done that for us I don’t know how many times. It was a great shot.’’
Boychuk’s goal was the fourth one that beat Crawford to his glove side, a trend Crawford couldn’t help but notice.
‘‘It was pretty obvious,’’ he said. ‘‘[But] I can’t start thinking about that. I can’t start thinking they’re going to go glove every time. If they switch up, then I’m in trouble.’’
He had a little tough luck, too. With the Hawks leading 4-2, Zdeno Chara fired a puck that went off the glass behind him and caromed back over the net and into the crease, where Patrice Bergeron poked it in.
‘‘It was kind of on an angle, so I thought it was going to go into a corner [off the glass] and it took a crazy bounce,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘Nothing else I can say about that. A crazy bounce.’’
Crawford often gets tougher to beat when the Hawks are in trouble. But he and his teammates can’t seem to stand prosperity. He allowed all five goals when the Hawks were ahead — 1-0, 3-1, 4-2, 4-3 and 5-4. But he said he never lost confidence. To him it was like an expected pitchers’ duel that ends up 10-9 — one of those days.
‘‘It was just that type of game where it was back and forth,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘I think the biggest part of it was us being able to grab the lead every time they came back. Great effort by our guys to not get rattled, stick with our game and keep playing hard keep playing the fast, skilled game that we play.’’