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Ray Emery gives Corey Crawford a break

Hawks goalie Ray Emery gets good look David Perron’s shot. | Mark Buckner~Getty Images

Hawks goalie Ray Emery gets a good look at David Perron’s shot. | Mark Buckner~Getty Images

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Updated: January 5, 2012 8:35AM



ST. LOUIS — With three games in four nights, it wasn’t a surprise that Ray Emery got the start in goal Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.

What has been a surprise is that Corey Crawford’s recent performances have fluctuated between very good and “just OK,” in coach Joel Quenneville’s words, after a strong start to the season.

“I thought he had an outstanding October and the last month [was] not to that same caliber,” Quenneville said. “He had an extensive sequence of games — 30- something games — at the end of [last season] where he was outstanding. He started that same way this year. That standard that he put himself at was elite-goaltender type of numbers or performances.”

In other words, there are expectations. Crawford said after a solid performance in a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings in the last game of the circus trip that he had been thinking too much about some of the goals he allowed.

Quenneville said he’s relying on the relationship between goalie coach Stephane Waite and Crawford.

“He handles the technical aspect of his game and the psychological aspect,” Quenneville said. “He’s worked with Steph now for about seven years. There is a lot of familiarity with one another. That helps with the progress that’s necessary and handicapping what’s gone on.”

Center Dave Bolland said the Hawks should take pride in Crawford’s numbers. Their poor defensive play has led to some bad goals.

“I think he’d like to see his numbers up there,” Bolland said. “[But] you do take pride as a defensive guy to watch his numbers and to be sure his numbers [are] up there and good.”

Perron’s return

Blues winger David Perron played for the first time since suffering a concussion Nov. 4, 2010, and missing 97 consecutive games. Bolland, who missed a substantial amount of time last season with his own concussion, was happy for Perron.

“It’s great to see a guy like that come back,” Bolland said. “He’s been out a little longer than I was. For him to come back now is great [and] to not have to end his career on a little hit like that [from San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton].”

Bickell sits again

Winger Bryan Bickell was a scratch for the second consecutive game, along with defensemen John Scott and Sami Lepisto.

“[Bickell has] got some
elements that you appreciate: size, speed, strength [and] he can shoot,” Quenneville said. “We just have to package that where he’s bringing it.”



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