Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford recovers after allowing soft goal
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org May 27, 2013 10:13PM
Updated: May 28, 2013 1:07PM
DETROIT — Corey Crawford wasn’t going to let this soft goal turn into a nightmare.
‘‘I told myself, ‘It can’t get any worse,’ ’’ Crawford said of his reaction after Joakim Andersson’s 48-foot shot sailed past his glove for a tiebreaking goal in the second period. ‘‘ ‘Be strong. Stop the next one, and move on from there.’
‘‘It was a pretty tough moment. But I was able to settle myself down and keep battling and tell myself, ‘It’s not over.’ Especially with our guys, how we can score. I just had to keep us in the game, [make] a couple of big saves and our guys took over.’’
Crawford’s faith in himself and his teammates paid off. He recovered from the costly gaffe to stop the Red Wings’ next 22 shots, and Michal Handzus, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik scored third-period goals to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series.
With a couple of exceptions, Crawford has been outstanding in goal for the Blackhawks, even as they fell behind 3-1 in this series. But his most egregious error of the series looked like it would ultimately doom the Hawks. Andersson’s goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead after the Hawks had taken a 1-0 lead. The momentum was palpable, with the home crowd derisively chanting Crawford’s name.
‘‘I just lost it. It’s pretty brutal, obviously,’’ Crawford said of Andersson’s goal. ‘‘But I was able to rebound after that.’’
In their most critical moment of the series, neither Crawford nor his teammates flinched. The way Crawford had played throughout the playoffs, his teammates were glad to help return the favor.
‘‘We have a lot of trust in Crow,’’ defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. ‘‘He’s been our best player in the playoffs so far. He’s been standing on his head a couple of games and saving our asses out there. It felt good to give it back to him today.’’
But Crawford also picked himself up. The Wings went right after him following Andersson’s goal, with five shots on goal in 71 seconds. He made every play.
‘‘That was a tricky one,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said of the soft goal. ‘‘I don’t think it bothered him at all. It didn’t bother us. Sometimes those go in, it’s no big deal. He bounced back. We knew he was going to.’’