Corey Crawford enjoying latest All-Star experience

Corey Crawford enjoying latest All-Star experience

LOS ANGELES – Corey Crawford knows what he's in for come Sunday afternoon, what the 3-on-3 format in the NHL All-Star Game can bring.

"It depends on the game I guess, but usually it's not favoring the goalies. It's usually a tough time for us," Crawford said with a laugh. "We all know what we're in for. Praying to the gods that we don't get shelled too bad."

This weekend, one which Crawford is celebrating with friends and family in Los Angeles, is another reminder of how far he's come. From getting named to events like this to the Jennings trophies to the two Stanley Cups, the goaltender who took a few more years to break through has reaped the rewards of his hard work.

"I dreamed about it. Playing hockey as a kid, I always wanted to be in the NHL and win a Cup and all that stuff. But growing up you don't really think it's going to happen. The chances of just making the NHL are pretty slim," Crawford said. "To be able to play in a great spot like Chicago, too. it's a great city. To have the fan base we do, not just in Chicago but whenever we go on the road, a lot of our fans follow us. It's a great place to play and I'm happy my career has been there."

Crawford has had another strong season, especially prior to suffering appendicitis in early December. While he's tapered off in recent games, the Blackhawks aren't where they are in the standings without his work this season.

"It seems like he's gotten better and better every year. Him and [Scott] Darling have been the most consistent part of our team and that's a good thing. When you have goaltending that's most inconsistent, that leads to a lot of success," Duncan Keith said. "We don't want to rely on them, like we have sometimes in games, but it's nice to know that they're there for us."

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Entering last season, the thought from many was that a bulk of Crawford's success was still attributed to what (and who) he had playing in front of him. Crawford's proved that thought wrong the past two seasons, especially this one. While the Blackhawks tried to figure out lines and get past lousy starts, Crawford was steady. For him, it's about being ready at all times and about altering his game whenever necessary.

"Adjustments, I think those need to be done all the time," Crawford said. "The game is constantly changing. Players are finding ways to score, power plays are trying to find new looks to create chances, create goals. As a goalie you just have to go with that and try to tweak your game and find out what works for you, too. You still have a base but there are always little adjustments that need to be done here and there."

Crawford always hoped to be here one day. Maybe he didn't take the quickest path. Maybe some of those dues-paying days weren't so far. But he got here, and he's made himself a nice career with the Blackhawks.

"It's been a long road," Crawford said. "Had to go through a lot through the minors, but it's been amazing."

Crawford comes up big for 250th win


Crawford comes up big for 250th win

Corey Crawford captured a coveted goalie milestone with another solid performance in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Blackhawks on Friday in New Jersey. The Hawks (12-12-5) beat the Atlantic division-leading Bruins 4-3 in overtime in Boston with Robin Lehner in net on Thursday before playing the Devils, last in the Metropolitan, Friday with Crawford starting. 

"It's important to try to climb back up in the standings," Crawford said following the game. "We had a few tough games, it seems like it's been pretty streaky the first quarter of the season, but when we're playing well I think we're pretty tough to beat. We just got to try to find that game as much as possible. 

"But that was obviously a big win to start it and against one of the best teams in the league (the Bruins) and having a big lead too, going late into the third period, and then a team that's a little bit lower in the standings (the Devils), but you still have to come out hard and play, no games are easy. It was pretty competitive out there but it's nice to find a way to win." 

The two-time Stanley Cup champ saved 29 of 30 shots through overtime, including a Miles Wood breakaway with 11 seconds remaining in the second period and the game tied 1-1. He also stopped three of five New Jersey Devils shooters including Taylor Hall and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes in the shootout. 

Crawford became the 59th goalie in NHL history to record 250 wins. The 34-year-old is one of 13 active NHL goalies and just the third Hawks netminder to reach the milestone.

Crawford is 250-149-52 in 464 games with the Blackhawks and has 26 shutouts. 

5 Takeaways: Blackhawks win 2-1 in shootout vs. Devils


5 Takeaways: Blackhawks win 2-1 in shootout vs. Devils

The Blackhawks won 2-1 against the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on Friday. Here are five takeaways:

Top to bottom

The Hawks were looking to establish some momentum in Jersey following a big win Thursday in Boston. Jonathan Toews scored in overtime and Alex DeBrincat ended a 12-game goal drought to help the Hawks to a 4-3 OT win over the Bruins, ending the Blackhawks' 3-game losing streak in which they were outscored 16-5. 

Going from facing the first place team in the Atlantic division (second in the NHL) on Thursday to the last place team in the Metropolitan division (second to last in the league) on Friday proved to be tougher than imagined. 

Alex DeBrincat scored the lone regulation goal for Chicago and Kirby Dach, the No. 3 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, scored the final goal of the shootout and set up No. 1 pick Jack Hughes to get stopped by Corey Crawford for the 2-1 final score. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane also scored in the shootout for the Blackhawks.

Crow 250

Corey Crawford won his 250th NHL game on Friday. The two-time Stanley Cup champ is the 59th goalie in NHL history to reach the milestone and one of 13 active netminders to do so. The 34-year-old is the third goalie to reach 250 wins with the Blackhawks. 

Crawford saved 29 of 30 New Jersey shots ahead of the shootout. 

Cat on the prowl 

DeBrincat scored his second goal in two games after not lighting the lamp in his previous 12. This is a good sign for the forward, who is known to score in bunches.

Gilbert getting noticed

Dennis Gilbert skated in his second straight game with the Hawks with Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) missing both contents on the road trip. Gilbert had a solid game in Boston Thursday and improved his case Friday, putting a big hit on Hughes then having a decent showing after answering the bell with Wayne Simmonds.

Kane watch

Kane tied Andy Bathgate for 93rd on the NHL career points list (973), assisting on DeBrincat's second period goal.