Chicago's rookie goalie a series star

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawfor makes a save in the third period against the Vancouver...

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawfor makes a save in the third period against the Vancouver Canucks during Game 7 of their NHL Western Conference quarter-final hockey game April 26, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:43 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Sometimes you can be a playoff hero even when you lose.

So while everyone is celebrating the drama and theatrics of Tuesday's Game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks, the hockey world is tipping its hat to Corey Crawford for making it possible.

"One of the greatest goaltending performances in a clutch situation you're ever going to see," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of his rookie netminder. "He gave us a chance."

Crawford almost single-handedly made Game 7 a classic. With Vancouver outshooting Chicago 15-6 in the second period, awarded a penalty shot in the third and swarming Crawford with too many scoring chances to list, Crawford turned in a 36-save gem worthy of Grant Fuhr or Billy Smith.

The 26-year-old from Montreal finished with one shutout and a .927 save percentage for the series. His goals-against average over the final four games was 1.75.

"He was a warrior out there, he battled just as hard as anybody," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Everyone wants to talk about (Canucks goalie Roberto) Luongo all the time and the superstars, but for a rookie goalie he was amazing. I can't say enough about him."

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

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