The Chicago Blackhawks have the Minnesota Wild on the brink of elimination, and Corey Crawford did his part in Game 3 on Tuesday with a sensational shutout performance.
We have some video evidence, too.
Among his biggest saves of the night, this one comes against Mikael Granlund on a breakaway in the second period to preserve the 1-0 Chicago lead:
And then there is this desperation save in the third period, during a scramble in his goal crease. Crawford drops the stick and lays down the blocker while falling to the ice, keeping the rolling puck out:
The Chicago Blackhawks needed only the one goal, apparently. Their goalie Corey Crawford was the difference, putting forward arguably his best performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday.
Thanks to a 30-save shutout from Crawford and a goal from the red-hot Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks took Game 3 by a final score of 1-0, and now have the Wild on the brink of elimination and a surprising sweep in the second round.
Kane needed only the slightest space to sneak a wrist shot by Devan Dubnyk on a first-period power play, giving himself at least a goal in each of the first three games to begin this series.
Crawford, who endured his struggles early in the first round, was the story the rest of the way against the Wild. He recorded his fourth career post-season shutout.
He denied Mikael Granlund on a breakaway in the second period. He stuck out the left pad just in time to stop the puck on the goal line during a scramble in front of him in the second.
And again, in the third, with the Wild buzzing around his crease for the equalizer, Crawford was forced to abandon his stick, falling back to keep the puck out with his blocker.
For every challenge the Wild threw his way in Game 3, Crawford had the answer.
And now the Blackhawks are one win away from their third consecutive trip to the Western Conference final.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 27 saves in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over Minnesota tonight, but one in particular gave fans a scare.
With the game drawing to a close, Wild defenseman Marco Scandella fired a hard and high shot that nailed Crawford in the front of his mask. Crawford appeared to be dazed as a result of the blow and perhaps had some difficulty keeping his balance. He did end up staying in the game, but went to the bench to get a new mask.
After the contest, Crawford said he was fine, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. He changed his mask because Scandella’s shot dented it.
He had a rocky start to the playoffs, but has led Chicago to a 2-0 series lead in the second round.