The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have both claimed the Stanley Cup in the last few years, so making it all the way to the finals is something many players on both teams have experienced before.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is different. He played in just one game in the 2009-10 campaign and Antti Niemi was the netminder that led the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup. Now it’s Crawford’s chance to show that he can be the guy that helps carry his team to a championship.
“I dreamed about it my whole life,” Crawford told CSN Chicago. “Worked hard, so it’s nice to finally get there after all the work. But there’s still a lot to do so we’ve got to be ready.”
Although Crawford has been consistently doubted since before the season began, he stepped up in the regular season and has a 1.74 GAA and .935 save percentage in the playoffs. He held his own in the Western Conference finals against the far more highly regarded, not to mention 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
“You’ve got to commend him on how he’s played all year long. The consistency, his approach where he just moves forward to see the next situation, the next shot; he’s unflappable in that area,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s moved us along here and guys have responded in front of him. But Corey has been rock solid.”
If nothing else, this year’s proven that the Blackhawks are capable of winning with Crawford between the pipes, but the Boston Bruins, fresh off their sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins, look like Chicago’s greatest challenge thus far.
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: