Blackhawks Crawford Ready For Playoffs

Crawford save MTL

After another win on Sunday against the Blues, Corey Crawford continued a stretch of strong play since the Olympics. And yet, even in spite of his performance in the 2013 playoffs, some still question the Blackhawks netminder.

Since the Olympic break, Crawford has a 1.87 goals against average in 15 games, which ranks fourth among playoff-bound goaltenders (Ilya Bryzgalov – 1.70, Jonathan Quick - 1.72, Tuukka Rask – 1.82). Crawford’s .923 save percentage over the stretch is equal to that of Montreal’s Carey Price, who won’t be with the Habs at the United Center on Wednesday night.

Crawford has allowed more than two goals in only four of his 15 starts since teams returned to the ice, and has yet to allow more than three in a game since March 1.

Unfortunately, there are only three teams in the Western Conference that Crawford hasn’t defeated this year… and one is Colorado.

During the Hawks regular season series against the Avs, the shot differential was substantial. Colorado averages 28.8 shots on net in victories and 30.5 in losses this season, but averaged only 23.4 in their five games against the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks averaged 39.8 shots on net in the same five games.

For Chicago, the shots against have been consistent all season: 26.8 shots against in wins, 27.4 shots against in losses. But the performance between the pipes has been the difference; Hawks’ netminders have a .931 save percentage in wins, but only an .876 save percentage in losses.

Injuries have put a lot of focus on the skaters in front of Crawford as the playoffs draw near, but his play in the first round will be the determining factor in the Hawks’ quest for a repeat.

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22 Responses to Blackhawks Crawford Ready For Playoffs

  1. Tim G says:

    While i dont question that Crow has been a good goalie (by numbers), he just fails the Eye test right now. When the Hawks are healthy they should score 3+ goals a night. So, any GAA around 2 or even under is all fine and dandy. The problem is that we haven’t scored 3 on Varlamov. We lit up Giguere for 7 that one game, but then 0 on Varlamov when he came in. Every other game vs Varlamov is either 1 or 2 goals.

    The issue has been the number of Grade A chances… (which is hardly Crow’s fault). But if the hawks are going to only score 1 or 2 games, Crow will have to steal the show to help out the offence. Right now he isn’t making anyone say “WOW”, and if we are going to continue to give up A-type chances, he will need to be there with some A-type saves. Saving 28-30 is nice in the stat sheet, a .933%. But if you lose 2-1, what does a good Save % matter?

    He hasnt stole games this year. Is he capable of doing so… Yes! but until he does (this year), he will remain a question mark every game. Dont get me wrong though… im not calling for his head. Ranttaa is not the answer every night… 50 is the starter and he needs to be out there. I just want to see him show up in a big way!

  2. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    On my list of concerns Crow is extremely low on the list. Crow has already backstopped this club to a Stanley Cup. Last year not only did the Hawks capture the cup but if you look at who the Hawks/Crow beat to win that cup is even more impressive. Josh Harding and Jimmy Howard are two goalies most would argue as on the same level as Crow from a talent standpoint and Crow managed to out play them en route to victory. Then Crow upped his game and beat two goalies who most would argue are on an elite level(Quick & Rask).
    After a rough playoff against Phx 2 years ago Crow has shown the ability to up his game in the playoffs, not to mention the clinic he put on 3 years ago when the Hawks lost in 7 against Vancouver. Crow is a player that plays his best when the stakes are highest,….not worried at all.

  3. morrison says:

    Whats impressive about those gaa is that Crow did that with the team being up and down. Those other goalies got their teams A game every game/wlt records wise.

    Crow is like Bicks, he brings it every playoffs.

  4. Bannerman & Belfour says:

    I know Crow back from his Rockford days and he is a very good kid…very focused, but very hard on himself. The soft goals he has been letting in have to stop, and he would be the first to say this. But as Morrison said Crow is a playoff competitor and don’t believe for a second that the Colorado goalie will out duel Crow come playoff time. Throw out what happened in the regular season, Crow won’t be the Hawks problem come playoff time. We need to keep playing those young, fast, energetic forwards of ours to shut down Colorados transition game. This can’t be done by playing #26. If the coach plays this guy, we could lose in the first round.

  5. Bannerman & Belfour says:

    Also I don’t discount a thing that Tim said but Crow will be ready come playoff time, I guarantee it for you.

  6. ebonyraptor says:

    Unless Crawford plays below his norm, he is good enough. The games won and lost in the playoffs starts and ends with team defense. If the Hawks play defense the way they are capable, the Hawks will win more than they lose. If they don’t, Crawford probably isn’t going to be able to steal a playoff series, let alone 4 of them.

  7. Mike57 says:

    ER – agree it is our team defense and puck possession that should win us games, Crawford shouldn’t have to steal a series but if he can steal 1 game each series we should be fine.
    B & B – agree if #26 plays vs the Avs we will be in trouble, it’s like putting an anchor on our second line. I wonder how good we would have been all year with Morin in the lineup in place of Zus.

    Can’t wait for the playoffs to start and see what Q decides on the lines. Should be interesting.

  8. ereignis says:

    A lot of people last year were saying that Crow didn’t steal any games during last year’s regular season (Emery vs. the Flames being the only steal I remember). And while his play was exceptional overall in the playoffs last year, he let in a bad softie against Detroit in game six and one or two more in game four against Boston. In both cases he put it behind him and elevated his game. In all likelihood, there will be more softies. Doesn’t mean he can’t win another cup or take the Hawks deep.

  9. fan since 63 says:

    might not even play avs in 1st round, anyone think of that

  10. Goldenbladz says:

    Agree with B&B sometimes CC drives me crazy with the softies but with great team defense and NO Handzus the Hawks will be fine with Crow in net.

  11. Mike57 says:

    63 you might be on to something, watching the Blues suck vs Washington tonite.

  12. wall says:

    Tim G- thank you for actually watching the games. luv the “Eye Test” comment

    ER- Right on… Hawks are good enough… If the Team Defense shows up… if The opponent gets as many or more “grade A/odd mans”… they/CC are very beatable.

    26 vs. Blues- I can live with
    26 vs. Avs- Please no!!!

  13. noonan96 says:

    So Sr. Brad-and R.T F.-where have you gone?
    We’re sorry, (mostly)-the site lacks a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ these days
    Perhaps just resting for the playoffs?

  14. Mike says:

    B&B I agree completely. Against the Avs, anybody slow afoot will be exposed. This series screams for 26 to be a healthy scratch and maybe even have Bollig sit a couple of games. But alas, Q trusts them where he does not trust a guy Morin or Nordstrom, so we will see.

    Wall, agreed about 26 vs. Blues. I am sure the Hawks will have their Defensive A game out for the playoffs, as will the competition. Low scoring games SHOULD always benefit the Hawks as we have more firepower to take advantage of those infrequent chances in a tight game

    Sr. Brad and RTF, these guys are right, your posts add positively to this blog.

    Sr. Brad and RTF,

  15. JS says:

    Did anyone that watched the Blues game yesterday notice the expression of “oh god I’m screwed” on Ryan Miller’s face after getting shelled? Not that I think he had a chance on any of the goals, but that’s exactly the point of overrating a goalie. He’s got a ton of pressure on him now since he was the big acquisition that was supposed to push them over the top, even though their previous goaltending tandom was performing well.

    Remember when people wanted Steve Ott? 3 points in 20 games with a -11. He’s also been a miserable possession center. Can’t believe Bowstink didn’t trade for this guy.

    Meanwhile, Regin has put up pretty good possession numbers (although they fluctuate a lot, but that’s probably because he’s often been deployed on the 4th line). He’s also got 4 points (not very good but he’s also had really odd deployment), and is a +6.

  16. AJ says:

    They were so sad when Miller let in those goals… Especially the glove side ones…

  17. John Wangsauce says:

    By the look of that photo, Crow is ready for a karate tournament.

  18. Rob says:

    Has there been any word from Q as to why Regin is outside the top 4 lines and Handzus is again skating on the 2nd line? Or is this just the same Q being stubborn and playing his guy Handzus.

  19. Mike says:

    Nice article about Morin this morning on BlackhawkUp. Evidently his Corsi in the StL game was over 84%. God help me if Zues plays while Morin sits in Denver………..Here is the article…..Tab, if this is a no no, just let me know

    Winning the trust, of Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach, Joel Quenneville, isn’t an easy thing to do. Who are we to doubt the man with over 700 career wins, and two Stanley Cup Championships, as a coach?

    With the absences of both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, due to injuries, Quenneville has been forced to rely on the depth of the Hawks’ organization, to make it to the end of the season, and he may have stumbled upon a blessing in disguise.

    A blessing that may have been in front of him, all season long.

    The often up and down frequenter of the drive between Rockford and Chicago, Jeremy Morin, finally looks like he can rest easy, in the Windy City.

    Corsi For Percentage
    4/6/14 St. Louis Blues 1 1 2 84.2%
    4/4/14 Columbus Blue Jackets 1 0 1 68.0%
    3/27/14 Boston Bruins 0 0 0 64.3%
    3/23/14 Nashville Predators 0 0 0 62.5%
    3/21/14 Carolina Hurricanes 0 0 0 62.5%
    TOTAL - 2 1 3 68.3%

    Fantastic!

    Morin has been an absolute force, since his most recent call-up, and is a huge reason as to why the Hawks have been able to win games, without Kane and Toews.

    3 points, in his last 6 games is solid, but not spectacular, but Morin doesn’t need to be spectacular, even though he was, in the Hawks’ most recent victory, over the St. Louis Blues.

    In that game, Morin put up an outstanding Corsi For Percentage of 84.2%. For those who aren’t familiar, Corsi For is a measure of positive puck possession versus negative puck possession. 84.2% is ridiculously great.

    Not only did he help keep the puck out of the Hawks zone, and off of the Blues’ sticks, he showed off his skill potential, by scoring 2 points, in the game. Morin created a beautiful set-up, for Patrick Sharp’s goal. The goal, that Morin scored was a dirty goal, scored off of a rebound.

    Sunday’s game, against the Blues perfectly illustrates what Morin brings to the Hawks. However, it would be foolish to expect a performance like that, game in and game out. What they we can expect, from Morin, is high-energy, chippy/physical play, puck-possession skill, as well as a big shot. Morin’s skill is spread across several areas, and while he isn’t particularly elite in any, his category, his puck possession skill suits the Blackhawks’ style perfectly, and he makes the players around him better.

    Those players have been Bryan Bickell and Peter Regin, who with Morin have become a very formidable line, for the Hawks.

    As long as Morin is on the ice, he is usually driving puck possession, for the Hawks, which is thus propelling the Hawks’ elite offensive unit, even without Toews and Kane. A little bit of everything, is brought to the team, when Morin plays, which is more that can be said, for other players, on the roster.

    All due respect, for Brandon Bollig, as the Hawks could do much worse, when it comes to 4th line players, but he doesn’t come close to contributing to the team, like Morin does. Bollig fights, can play physical hockey, occasionally shows off a solid shot, and takes bad penalties, often. Morin does everything Bollig does, but with way more hockey skill and smarts. When playoff time is here, very shortly, there is no logical excuse that can be used to prove why Bollig should be in the lineup, over Morin.

    With Kane and Toews out, Coach Q was forced to trust in Morin, and it has payed off, big time. Once Kane and Toews are healthy again, for the playoffs, Morin should slot, on the 2nd or 3rd line, for the Hawks, as he could very well serve as the X-factor, and a huge boost, for the Hawks during the post-season.

    With Jeremy Morin playing on a healthy Blackhawks roster, Hawks fans have plenty of reasons to be excited about the playoffs. Much like Coach Q did, Hawks fans should put their trust in Morin, especially on a healthy Hawks roster, and they will be rewarded for doing so.

    Go Hawks!

  20. John Wangsauce says:

    BlackhawkUp writer needs to learn how to write and lay off the commas. Seems to reiterate what others have been saying about Morin here. All we can hope is that Zus takes a seat, especially if it’s CO in the 1st round. StL might lose their top spot!

  21. AJ says:

    Yay for “driving puck possession” and Morin over Bollig with a healthy line up. Welcome onboard the JS & AJ High Horse Express Mike!

  22. goldenbladz says:

    If Morin keeps playing this way the next 3 games how could Q not play him over Handzus. It’s like going with the goaltender that has the hot hand. Why mess with success? I guess we will see.

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