They started chanting his name 20 seconds into the game, so Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford acknowledged the fans in the State of Hockey by shutting out their team.
Crawford played an exceptional game, forcing fans on Twitter ask “how did that not go in?” on multiple occasions. He stopped all 30 shots he faced and looked like the confident netminder the Hawks saw early in the regular season.
It only took one goal to beat the Wild, and it came from Patrick Kane.
Kane’s fourth goal of the series is equal to the number of times Minnesota has scored on Crawford over three games. His tally came on the Blackhawks only power play of the game, and came with just under six minutes left in the first period.
From there, Crawford made every big save necessary for one to be enough and the skaters in front of him helped out with a strong effort to extend the Hawks lead to 3-0 in the series.
The Hawks were dominant at the dot, winning 37 of 59 faceoffs. Jonathan Toews led the way, winning 15 of 22 in 19:02 on Tuesday night. Andrew Shaw, who picked up an assist on Kane’s goal, won seven of nine while Antoine Vermette won five of nine in the victory.
Duncan Keith continued his superhuman postseason, skating 29:22 and 41 shifts; Kimmo Timonen was on the ice for only 5:44 and 10 shifts.
Bryan Bickell skated only 11:58 but still led the Hawks with five hits. Teuvo Teravainen led Chicago with four shots on net, and his confidence with Vermette and Patrick Sharp continues to climb. That line has looked dangerous on every shift over the last two games, and Sharp was the victim of several of Devan Dubnyk’s best saves on Tuesday.
Dubnyk stopped 21 of 22 in the loss.
Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival were credited with four blocked shots each as the Hawks blocked 19 Minnesota attempts in addition to the 30 that made it to Crawford. The Wild also had 16 shots miss the target as they dominated the puck in the third period.
The win is the 36th playoff victory for Crawford, moving him past Ed Belfour into sole possession of second in Blackhawks franchise history. He is nine behind Tony Esposito for the club’s all-time mark… a number that would be equaled if he leads the Blackhawks the distance in these playoffs.
We’ll see if the fans are as quick to chant Crawford’s name again in Game Four. The series could end on Thursday night, as the Hawks go for the sweep in Minnesota.