Corey Crawford stops 39 as Blackhawks win ninth straight


Corey Crawford stops 39 as Blackhawks win ninth straight

MONTREAL — Corey Crawford admits there’s something special about playing the hometown team.

Sure, this season Crawford’s been playing well regardless of the opponent. But playing against Montreal, especially in Montreal? That’s just special. And that’s a good way to describe Crawford’s performance against the Canadiens on Thursday night.

Crawford stopped 39 of 40 shots and coach Joel Quenneville become the second all-time winningest coach outright as the Blackhawks beat the Canadiens, 2-1. The Blackhawks have now won nine straight; while they have as many points as the Dallas Stars, the Stars remain in first place with two games in hand.

Ryan Garbutt scored the game-winning goal in the first period, when the Blackhawks got all of their offense. Jonathan Toews scored his 17th of the season earlier in the first. Richard Panik had the secondary assist on Garbutt’s goal for his first point in a Blackhawks jersey.

The fact that the Blackhawks have caught the Stars, who they lost 4-0 to just prior to Christmas, even has them pleasantly surprised.

“To get on a run like this, I didn’t think it was possible for a big stretch, but in a short amount of time things have worked out,” Quenneville said. “There’s a lot of hockey to be played, but we’ll enjoy it today.”

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Watch Corey Crawford makes four saves in three seconds]

They can enjoy it in large part due to Crawford’s outing on Thursday. Crawford has been good in every game against the Canadiens, even those that he lost. His stops on Thursday ranged from standard to stellar, and in six career outings against Montreal he’s now 4-0-2 with a 1.32 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage.

“I grew up here, used to come watch games here, and it’s still kind of surreal to step here on the ice and actually play a game out there,” Crawford said. “I don’t think that’ll change any time soon.”

Crawford was at his best in the second and third periods, when the Canadiens had 29 of their 40 shots.

“Yeah there’s excitement in his game and in his demeanor going into the game,” Quenneville said of Crawford. “I thought he was really good at morning skate, (had a) very business-like approach. We’ve seen him progress here each and every year. He’s having a great stretch for us right now; it’s one of the reasons we’ve been winning.”

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Toews gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 8:26 into the game when Andrew Shaw found him open on Mike Condon’s glove side. While they couldn’t capitalize on other chances on Thursday, the top line continues to build momentum and collect points.

“I don’t think the three of us — Shawzy, and Hoss and myself — are putting any pressure on ourselves, the way maybe we were earlier,” Toews said. “I think a lot of that comes from just having the puck a lot more. I think we’re finally starting to know where the other guys are on our line, and we’re able to get pucks away from pressure and buy each other some time and space. And plays are just developing for us.”

About two minutes after Paul Byron tied it with a shot that went off his shin pad, Garbutt laced one past Condon for the 2-1 lead Crawford wouldn’t relinquish.

“I just had the puck bounce off the wall in a perfect spot for me, just picked my spot and let it rip,” Garbutt said.

Crawford did the rest. It’s been a very good stretch for the Blackhawks. It’s been a good one for Crawford, too, and he enjoyed continuing it back home.

“It seems like our team is just coming together and we’re not taking as many penalties. We’re playing a simple game with speed and skill,” Crawford said. “Everyone’s chemistry throughout the lineup compared to where we were in the beginning of the year ... there’s a lot of things coming together for us.”

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Former Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland will be honored with “One More Shift” on the ice at United Center this Friday prior to Hawks matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bolland will stand with the team during the National Anthem and skate on ice in full gear. Along with time on ice, the United Center will also honor Bolland by showcasing his career highlights throughout the arena.

The Blackhawks will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their 2010 Stanley Cup win at five games this season, coinciding with “One More Shift” nights to honor individual players.  The United Center Atrium doors will open at 4pm, giving fans a chance to look at the interactive photo opportunities and historical items on display. Bolland will participate in a Q&A in the atrium at 6:30 p.m. before he hits the ice.

Dave Bolland was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2004 and spent ten seasons of his NHL career in Chicago. Bolland played with the team during two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. Bolland played in all 22 playoff games in 2010, garnering 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) which shared fifth among Blackhawks skaters in the postseason. Bolland recorded his best season of his career during the 2008-09 campaign with the Blackhawks, skating in a career-high 81 regular-season games and recording career highs in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47).

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

The Blackhawks finally got on the board for the season and did so in front of the 500th consecutive capacity crowd at the United Center.

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the impressive performance by the Blackhawks against the undefeated Edmonton Oilers and discuss how Jeremy Colliton’s message got through to Alex Nylander and the rest of the team.

Plus, after an impressive performance in net, should Corey Crawford get the next game vs. the Blue Jackets? And what does the future have in store for Kirby Dach? Jamal makes a bold prediction.

0:54 – Blackhawks finally show urgency in 2nd period

2:47 – Penalty kill starting to show some life

5:00 – Thoughts on the Shaw/Strome/Kane line

6:43 – Blackhawks eliminating some defensive breakdowns

9:23 – Big rebound performance from Corey Crawford

11:36 – Colliton’s message to Alex Nylander got through

15:21 – Brandon Saad has been a pleasant surprise early on

17:15 – Dominik Kubalik’s impressive performance

18:31 – Will Kirby Dach be with the Blackhawks all season?

22:42 – Does Crawford or Lehner start vs. the Blue Jackets?

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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