TAMPA — Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final wasn’t a banner night for starting goalies.
Ben Bishop surrendered three goals before exiting the game, twice, under mysterious circumstances. The second time, he left for good.
As for Corey Crawford? Four goals allowed on 24 shots, one ugly one to Tyler Johnson, and some less-than-stellar performance reviews.
The first, from his head coach!
Q. What is your assessment of Crawford in this one tonight?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Just okay.
Crawford’s self-assessment was equally blunt.
“It’s frustrating,” he explained. “I felt good but it’s not good enough”
“I can’t let that happen again.”
The final two goals — surrendered to Jason Garrison and Tyler Johnson — annoyed Crawford, but the latter irked him the most, a bank shot scored from a bad angle.
“I don’t want to give that up,” Crawford said. “I don’t think he was trying to do that. He kind of fanned on his backhand, hit the side of the net, I don’t know if it bounced up, I kind of lost it from there, but I felt something on my back.
“You can’t give those up in these games. That’s two goals I pretty much just gave them and gave them momentum back.”
Of course, rough playoff reviews aren’t anything new for Crawford. He’s faced plenty of criticism over the last few years about his play — in 2013, much was written about Boston exposing his glove hand; last year, he finished the Western Conference Final against the Kings with an .878 save percentage; in this year’s opening round, he was parked in favor of Scott Darling after two shaky outings against Nashville.
Yet Crawford is the same guy that’s won over 40 postseason games in five years, with a .920 save percentage and 2.26 GAA. He’s also the same guy that helped Chicago win a Cup two seasons ago.
That’s probably why, regardless of games like tonight, the Blackhawks have consistently had his back.
“I don’t really follow media the way you guys do so I don’t know what’s said or not outside,” ‘Hawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said. “In the locker room, we know what kind of player he is. He’s always been tremendous here. He’s a hard competitor. He loves the game.
“Every time it’s on the line, we know we can trust him.”