Joel Quenneville sticking with Corey Crawford in goal
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com June 20, 2013 9:20PM
Updated: June 21, 2013 2:35PM
The Blackhawks don’t have a goalie issue.
One day after Corey Crawford allowed five goals — all of them to his glove side — in a 6-5 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the almost perfunctory question was asked of coach Joel Quenneville:
Do you consider turning to No. 1A goalie Ray Emery, who had a better record than Crawford in the regular season, the same goals-against average, finished ahead of Crawford in the Vezina Trophy voting and has Stanley Cup Final experience? (With Ottawa in 2006, Emery started every game in a 4-1 series loss to the Anaheim Ducks, allowing six goals in the Ducks’ Cup-clinching game.)
The answer — no surprise here — was as perfunctory as the question.
‘‘No, not all,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We’re very comfortable with Corey. Corey has been rock solid all year for us ... he’s been outstanding. And he’s the biggest reason why we’re here today.’’
Though it was easily Crawford’s weakest game of an otherwise stellar postseason, neither Crawford nor Quenneville was perturbed by the performance. Both Crawford and Rask were in part a victim of the circumstance — two outstanding goaltenders caught in a shootout — which in not uncommon in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In Game 5 of the 1973 Final, the two best goaltenders in the game — Ken Dryden of the Canadiens and Tony Esposito of the Blackhawks — combined to allow 15 goals in an 8-7 Hawks victory that staved off elimination. Both were in goal for Game 6 — on their way to the Hall of Fame.
‘‘Last night’s game was one of those games where pucks were going in,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We’ll [look at] that, but all year long Corey has just moved on. He moves from save to save and it doesn’t faze him.’’
Despite giving up leads of 1-0, 4-2 and 5-4, Crawford said he never lost confidence.
‘‘No. No. It’s just that type of game, where it was back and forth,’’ he said. ‘‘I think the biggest part of it was us being able to grab the lead again every time they came back. Great effort by our guys to not get rattled, stick with our game and keep playing hard, keep playing that fast, skilled game that we play.’’
The Emery question is an autonomic response to a subpar game by Crawford. But as captain Jonathan Toews noted, Crawford has responded after tough games all season.
‘‘I don’t see why it would be different,’’ Toews said. ‘‘To be honest, I don’t really see anything terribly wrong with the way he played. Maybe some of the shots from far out that went in overshadowed some of the stops that he did make. As forwards we can be a little more responsible [about] getting in shooting lanes. I think there’s something to be said about blocking shots and helping our goaltender out a little more. I’m not too worried about how he’s going to play in [Game 5].’’