Corey Crawford’s game and whether he can bounce back from a tough loss is up for discussion – again.
Crawford allowed five of six goals in a Game 2 loss to the L.A. Kings, and the Chicago Blackhawks find themselves tied in this best-of-seven Western Conference Final at one-game apiece. It was a disastrous end to that game for Chicago, which had built up a two-goal lead on the score board and could’ve done so in the series.
To their credit, the Kings got a fortunate break on their first goal, then went on to put another four past Crawford, before an empty-net goal secured the win, sending this series back to L.A. all even.
The two teams meet again on Saturday in Game 3. Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville praised his netminder’s maturity and ability to bounce back after tough outings.
“Yeah, he’s moved forward off all his games, ordinary games as well. I thought he was fine last game. I thought he had a great practice out here today,” Quenneville told reporters.
“Just the way he moves, the way he handles the next situation is something that shows he’s really developed I guess his efficiency of being the kind of goaltender that you look for as being your key guy.
“I think every year he’s matured in different ways. I just think he’s gotten better and better in how to approach, whether it’s a goal that he feels he could have had, a tough loss. But I think he’s handled all situations, whether it’s a big win or coming off the last game. But he moves forward in the proper fashion. Today was a good example of that.”
As is the situation with every goalie in the playoffs, their play and performance is always subject to criticism when things aren’t going well and lauded when things go well. Crawford is no exception.
In the first round, he was critical of his own play after the first two games against St. Louis. Consider that now, in the third round, his name has been mentioned in the Conn Smythe discussion.