Corey Crawford worked on his usual drills when he was going through his tough stretch earlier this month. Those helped, no doubt, as he allowed just two goals in his past two games, both victories.
But Crawford said what helped him more was what he learned from watching backup Ray Emery during that time.
I took a good look at Ray and I found he prepares so well. It feels like he gets into the zone before he even gets on the ice, Crawford said entering his third consecutive start. So I looked at that, took a look at my preparation and me and (goaltending coach Stephane Waite) talked about it, too. We felt it could be a little bit better so I was definitely preparing myself and thinking about the game a day before and before the game just going through situations in my head.
Apparently its worked. Entering Wednesday nights game against Los Angeles, Crawford has stopped 57 of 59 shots he faced in his previous two games.
Emery said he has a routine that he goes through on game days.
I just stretch, watch some video of the other team and get in my own head space, listen to some music. Im pretty quiet around the rink for a couple hours before the game, Emery said. Every guy goes about it their own way. You just choose a routine based on what works for you growing up.
Coach Joel Quenneville commended Crawford on how he handled his down time. Crawford said it was tough not playing; but considering his admiration and friendship with Emery, and the Blackhawks winning streak, he understood.
When the other guys playing well and youre winning, you want to be a good teammate and be a good presence around the room, Crawford said. The last thing we need is somebody moping about ice time and complaining. And its not in my character to do that.
The two goaltenders bounce ideas off each other often. Emery said the two have similar senses of humor, so most of the time the talk is about things other than hockey. As far as on-ice, Crawford said theres plenty he can learn from Emery, a former No. 1 goaltender himself.
It just feels like hes ready right from the start and hes focused. Hes in the zone before he even gets on the ice and gets his shots, said Crawford. We chat about all kinds of stuff. Its good, too, that were pushing each other on the ice. It only makes us better as goalies.