Crawford prepares to play against Luongo

ROBERT TYCHKOQSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:39 PM ET

VANCOUVER - It's Roberto versus the Rookie.

Gold medalist and Jennings Trophy winner versus a guy starting his very first playoff game?

If you're Corey Crawford... gulp!

"I'll probably have a little bit of nerves going into the game," admitted the 26-year-old, who'll have Chicago's playoff fortunes riding on his shoulders against Luongo and the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks.

"Controlling (the nerves) will probably be pretty tough. It's my first start, it's going to be nerve-racking. But it's also fun. These are the Stanley Cup playoffs, I've dreamed about this for a long time. It's going to be fun, a loud building... it's still hockey."

And Crawford has been very good all season, posting a 33-18-6 record, 2.30 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He was so good he relegated veteran Marty Turco the backup role.

Nothing can really prepare a rookie for his first playoff game, especially in a Canadian city, but the way Crawford sees it, if you can stop a puck in January you can stop it in April.

"It's still the same game," he said. "We played these guys four times this season, so my preparation will stay the same. Hopefully, I'll have good feelings off the start.

"I imagine it's going to be a tough game, both teams are going to be battling hard. It's going to be a lot of fun."

The other goalie is the last guy Crawford has to worry about. But in the back of his head Wednesday night, a little voice will be saying: 'Dude, that's Luongo in the other crease.'

"Yeah, I watched him play for so long now," said Crawford, a fellow Montrealer. "He's been a dominant goalie in the league for such a long time. Now, to be facing him in the playoffs is kind of special.

"My focus is more on their players and shooters than him at the other end, but obviously I want to beat him."

BROUWER IN, BOLLAND OUT

Chicago will have 214-pound winger Troy Brouwer back for Game 1. He's been out with a shoulder injury but declared himself ready to go.

"I feel good, I feel playoff ready," he said. "There's a little bit of rush to come back in the playoffs. I want to help my team out."

With Dustin Byfuglien out of the picture in Chicago, they're looking for big guys to crash the net and Brouwer was first to get his hand up.

"I'm going to be one of those guys in front of him, making it so (Luongo) can't see the pucks. He's been playing really well this year, swallowing everything up. The way to beat him is to get traffic in front of him."

Dave Bolland, out a month with a concussion, has resumed skating but isn't ready yet.


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