Chicago Blackhawks Vs Nashville Predators. 2nd-Period Chicago Blackhawks No. 29 Bryan Bickell with a quick shot on goal while Phoenix Coyotes goaltender No.41 Mike Smith makes the save. Saturday April 18, 2013 I Photo by Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: May 22, 2013 7:09AM
The Phoenix Coyotes have Corey Crawford’s number. Or maybe they have a curse on him or something.
It’s hard to explain all the fluky goals they’ve scored against Crawford, but it happened again Saturday at the United Center.
The Blackhawks lost 3-2 in a shootout, with the Coyotes’ Mikkel Boedker and David Schlemko beating Crawford and only Patrick Kane beating Mike Smith. The result ended the Hawks’ seven-game winning streak.
Much like the Hawks’ first-round playoff series last
season against the Coyotes, the game featured some strong moments from Crawford, especially in the third period. But it will be remembered for some shaky ones, including an odd, soft goal.
‘‘We played really well, and I thought I played well enough to win the game,’’ said Crawford, who finished with 29 saves. ‘‘But it was just another couple of bad bounces, like the last game. It’s just a tough loss in the shootout. . . . We’ll just move on from here.’’
Crawford allowed a crazy, bouncing goal to Rostislav Klesla on a dump-in from the center-ice boards to tie the score at 1 in the first
period. Less than three minutes later, Radim Vrbata beat Crawford from the left circle to give the Coyotes the lead.
Crawford received a mock cheer from the fans after making an easy save in the third period. He also tripped while playing the puck
behind his net.
‘‘It was just a bad bounce,’’ Crawford said of the first goal.
‘‘They happen,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said.
Crawford played very well after the two-goal lapse, turning away some Coyotes barrages in the third. But Smith (36 saves) had a strong game at the other end, too.
‘‘We’ve found ways to win in overtimes and shootouts more often than not, I think,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘I still think we did some pretty good things out there.’’
Brent Seabrook was the Hawks’ offensive star, scoring two power-play goals. Kane and Nick Leddy each had two assists. It was another encouraging sign for a power play that recently went nine games without a goal.
‘‘It just goes to show that it’s going to make a difference in some of those close, tight games where maybe we don’t get a bounces five-on-five,’’ Toews said. ‘‘A couple of good shots by Seabs.’’