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Corey Crawford saves best for last period in Game 2 win

GAME 1

Wild 2
at Hawks 5

GAME 2

Wild 1
at Hawks 4

GAME 3

8 p.m. Tuesday
at Wild, CNBC

GAME 4

TBD Friday
at Wild

GAME 5 if necessary

TBD Sunday
at Hawks

GAME 6 if necessary

TBD May 13
at Wild

GAME 7 if necessary

TBD May 15
at Hawks

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Updated: May 4, 2014 10:04PM



Midway through Game  2, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson had blocked four shots.

So had goalie Corey Crawford.

“I’ve seen that before,” Crawford said. “There are games during the season where we control the play and I’m not seeing too much work. I have to stay ready. I try to get out and play pucks when I can and keep myself in the game.”

Good thing he did because when the Minnesota Wild finally started shooting, they came in bunches. In the last 10 minutes of the second period and the first three minutes of the third, Crawford saw 13 shots. He was sharp and also fortunate — Nino Niederreiter and Dany Heatley each put the puck behind him, but the puck somehow stayed out. He dodged another bullet from Jason Pominville, whose shot skittered through the crease, early in the third.

But Crawford’s biggest moment came after Cody McCormick cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 2-1 in the third. Zach Parise’s shot from the slot deflected high above Crawford, who reached back and smacked it up in the air with the blade of his stick just before it fell in the net. Instead, it landed harmlessly on top of the net. It was another potentially game-saving, highlight-reel save for Crawford.

“I just tried to whack it behind the net,” he said. “I just caught enough of it. I almost missed it, where it might have gone in. Got just enough to land on top.”

Crawford has allowed only nine goals during the Hawks’ six-game winning streak. And his ability to stay sharp and focused while his teammates dominate the puck is a big reason why.

“It’s got to be one of the toughest situations for goaltenders, to not see too many pucks, and then all of a sudden get a flurry of shots like [Minnesota] did,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “But he’s focused. It’s almost like, when he makes a big save, you’re not sure whether you want to go tap him on the pads and talk to him. You almost want to leave him alone and let him do his thing. You know he’s focused. He makes one stop, and he’s ready for the next one.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkLazerus



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