Corey Crawford dealt with the ups and downs of this series with the same demeanor. It’s probably what got him through it all.
“I’ve gone through a lot in my career,” he said. “Just being level headed helps, not to get too down. You just keep working hard and pretty much just wash away anything else that creeps into your mind.”
Coach Joel Quenneville always says “things change quickly in our business.” That quick-changing business saw Crawford back in net and stopping 13 shots for the victory in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 decision over Nashville in Game 6 of this first-round series. Crawford, who hadn’t played since giving up six goals in Game 2, watched Scott Darling come in for him in Game 1 and take over in net beginning with Game 3. It wasn’t easy for Crawford, but he handled the whole situation diplomatically and was one of the first to greet Darling after his victories.
When defensive breakdowns in front of Darling put the Blackhawks down 3-1, Crawford got another chance. With a tighter defense in front of him, Crawford didn’t have to face a barrage of shots. But he came up with the necessary stops.
“I mean, I got into it pretty quick,” Crawford said. “The first few minutes there was a little adjustment.”
So, does this mean Crawford’s the starting goaltender again when the Blackhawks face their second-round opponent?
“Well, we’ll let you know but I think you know who’s going to start the next game,” Quenneville said with a grin. “[Crawford] did everything we wanted him to do. He had a couple looks there when he first came in and got comfortable as the game went along. That was a big test right there. Great response.”
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“It’s great for him, considering the type of criticism he takes. Flip of a switch: if things go wrong for our team, especially in the playoffs, everyone wants to point the finger at the goaltender,” Jonathan Toews said. “He deserves credit.”
Crawford’s gone through plenty in his career, as he said. He was a supportive teammate as he watched Darling play well through this series. And, of course, he was very happy to get another chance.