Before this season began, Chicago was frequently mentioned as a possible destination for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo because, after all, what the Blackhawks need more than anything is a goaltender.
That sentiment actually wan’t unfounded given Corey Crawford’s rough sophomore campaign, but even after he posted a 1.94 GAA and .926 save percentage in the 2013 regular season, there were still plenty of people that doubted his abilities.
It’s only after he played a key role in Chicago overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Detroit Red Wings and outdueled Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick through two games in the Western Conference finals that the 28-year-old netminder’s recent accomplishments are getting recognized.
“Yeah, he’s awesome,” Chicago’s Patrick Sharp, who has been pretty good himself, said of Crawford. “Been answering questions all year about Corey, if he’s the No. 1 guy, if he can do it. Said the same answer all along. There’s no question in our locker room.
“He’s the guy we want in net back there. He’s proven it in the past. It’s nice to see him finally get the credit that he deserves.”
Just to put some numbers on what Crawford has done in the playoffs, his 1.67 GAA is the best out of anyone who has gotten at least one start in the postseason and his .938 is only a sliver behind Quick’s.
“I feel like I’ve been pretty strong, pretty consistent this year,” Crawford said after Game 2. “I’ve taken pride in that this year, to have the same game every night, give our guys a chance.
“With a team like this, you know, we have such a great offense, just give our guys a chance and make sure it stays within a goal or two, and we’re in good shape.”
The Blackhawks certainly are in good shape right now, and it’s not just because of their potent offense.