“He saved our butts a couple times out there,” teammate Duncan Keith said. “He’s been solid all year long and obviously last couple games he hasn’t let anything by him.”
Crawford is soft spoken and always talks team first, but there was some personal satisfaction in winning against a team which has broken the Hawks’ hearts three times this season.
“They’ve kind of killed us in past games against them,” Crawford said. “They have a lot of skill and a good power play. That was a huge lift for us to shut them down.”
Crawford has shown a consistent ability to stop pucks from getting through him even when major scrambles are occurring in front of the Hawks net. He’s closed up and gotten big.
“It’s a matter of being aggressive,” Crawford explained. “Our goalie coach makes sure to tell us that stuff in tight, make sure we’re out and we’re compact so nothing gets through us. It’s hard for a player to go pretty high, in-tight. We’re worried about covering the low ice.”
Crawford has been the savior in a similar way Antti Niemi was a year ago. The difference is Crawford took over the No. 1 role much earlier and is being relied upon to get the Hawks in the playoffs.
“He improves every day,” Joel Quenneville said. “He’s learning the league and more familiar with his defense in front of him. When you get on a roll sometimes you’re really finding that puck. It looks big to him and he’s quietly going about it.”
-Crawford bailed out Jonathan Toews after Toews uncharacteristically turned the puck over at his own blue line in the third period. TJ Galiardi was in alone on a breakaway. Crawford made the save. When informed he took the captain off the hook, “don’t worry, he’s done stuff for me too,” Crawford said.
-Nick Leddy had another strong showing. His patience with the puck is noticeable and he’s gaining confidence.
“We were just talking about how he waits people off, waits people off. It really enhances our puck possession game,” Quenneville said.
-Quenneville once again praised the defensive pairing of Leddy and Jordan Hendry. Hendry led the Hawks in blocked shots with four, despite no time killing penalties.
-The last time the Hawks had back to back shutouts was Dec. 13 and 16 of 2009.