EDMONTON – On a young team, it’s veterans who will have to lead the way if the Blackhawks want to stay alive as long as they can in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Right now, as it has been in the past, the focus remains on one of those veterans who is doing yeoman’s work in the net to keep the team playing.
Corey Crawford added another memorable chapter to his playoff hockey story in Game 4 against the Golden Knights at Rogers Place on Sunday. Facing elimination, the veteran goalie stopped 46 shots and didn’t allow a score in the final two periods in a 3-1 victory over Vegas.
Included in this effort were a few memorable third period saves as the Blackhawks clung to the one-goal lead. It was something Blackhawks’ fans remember from the middle of the last decade, and they’ve seen it play out in a most unusual of a postseason.
“Looking at ‘Crow,’ he stood on his head. He’s obviously, probably, the biggest reason we won this game,” said forward Drake Caggiula of Crawford. “Stood on his head, made a ton of big saves, gave us a lot of momentum. That’s why he’s won cups before, he’s been there, he’s done it.
“He put the team on his back today.”
Crawford stood up to a 20-shot barrage by the Golden Knights in the first period and kept it up the rest of the way. He’d make 11 saves in the final 20 minutes, rarely getting a break until Alex DeBrincat’s empty-netter finally pushed the advantage to two in the final seconds.
While his efforts led the way, Crawford did praise his defense for their help in getting rid of the puck once he stopped the initial try on net.
“Obviously we don’t want to give up any goals but I thought especially tonight, our third period was great,” said Crawford. “They were just throwing pucks on net and our guys were there to clear it and get it out of there.”
Duncan Keith wasn’t about to let him pass the praise so easily, however. His 52nd win in his 95th playoff game was one of his finest, and the first one he’s gotten since Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference quarterfinals against the Blues.
“Corey was obviously our best penalty killer, our best player today. When you get those saves that we’re getting from him, it gives your confidence for sure.”
It’s certainly something to “Crow” about and helps the Blackhawks live to fight another day.