CHICAGO - Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is not getting any love from the glove.
Of the 12 goals that have been scored against him by the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup final, 10 of them have beaten him in some fashion to the glove side.
All five goals in the Hawks’ 6-5 overtime victory in Boston on Wednesday night to tie the series 2-2 beat Crawford to the glove side.
“Well, 99% of the shots are going glove side. I don’t know what you would say. I can’t start thinking about that. That’s when you start getting in trouble when you start thinking everything is going to go glove. I’m just going to play the way I’ve been playing and stick with that,” said Crawford.
Let’s not forget he still won the game, which is all that matters and especially at this time of year.
He found a way to give up one less goal than Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville – and rightly so – said there is no consideration being given to turning to backup netminder Ray Emery, who played in the 2007 Cup final with the Ottawa Senators and was 17-1-3 in the lockout-shortened season.
“No, not at all. No, we’re very comfortable with Corey,” said Quenneville, who saw his club give up 3-1 and 4-2 leads in Game 4. “Corey has been rock solid all year for us and when he’s got the ball, he’s been outstanding and he’s the biggest reason why we’re here today.”
But everybody knows what’s coming Saturday in Game 5 and where it’s going.
“For sure, when we do our pre-scout we want to exploit something like that. We tell our guys to get a picture in their head of where they want to shoot and as much of a consideration as it can be given there’s sometimes little time to shoot, that’s definitely the idea we give them of where we want it to go,” said one NHL goaltending coach.
Crawford’s weakness with the glove stems from wanting to protect the top part of the net, said the coach.
“He struggles at times because of the way he holds his glove, trying to cover the high shot. It’s tough to come back from that position to get to those shots that are just above the pad,” said the coach. “His whole game is based on positioning and patience, but he’s very impatient with his glove. It acts independent of his body. Even that save he made on (Bruins forward Jaromir) Jagr, it didn’t look natural. His body was going away from the puck.”
The coach said there’s not much Hawks goaltending coach Stephane Waite can do about it now except, “to just let it go and give (Crawford) lots of positive reinforcement. After that, you cross your fingers and hope you get the bounces.”
Crawford’s teammates said Thursday they were as responsible for the five goals as Crawford was.
“He’s had that maturity and that character all year that he’s been able to bounce back, but to be honest with you, I don’t really see anything terribly wrong with the way he played (Wednesday) night,” said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. “Maybe some of the shots from far out that went in overshadowed some of the stops that he did make. For the most part, I think as forwards we can maybe be a little more responsible and getting in shooting lanes the way they would against us ... I’m not too worried about how he’s going to play in the next game.“
“I don’t think we’re worried about Crow at all,” said Chicago forward Patrick Kane. “Just talked to him afterward and he seemed to be in a good state. He just seemed to be happy we won the game, so I don’t worry about his confidence at all.”
The Bruins will be out to shoot holes in that confidence by shooting at Crawford’s glove side.