Crawford elicits awe in defeat

VANCOUVER -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford left an indelible mark in the Game 7 overtime defeat to the Vancouver Canucks, 2-1.

Yes, he gave up two goals to Alex Burrows but it’s what he kept out of his net that impressed the hockey world. He was magnificent in stopping 36 shots.

“It was one of the greatest goaltending performances in a clutch situation you’re going to see,” Joel Quenneville said after the game. “The kid was great.”

As the Hawks pressed to tie the game they left their netminder on an island. He even stopped Burrows on a penalty shot in the third period to keep the score within one.

“He was a warrior out there,” Jonathan Toews said. “Everyone wants to talk about [Roberto] Luongo all the time and the superstars but for a rookie goaltender, he was amazing. I can’t say enough about him.”

Save after save Crawford would not relent. He gave up his first goal to Burrows 2:43 into the game and then shut down the Canucks for more than 62 minutes. In other words he pitched a regulation shutout but still came up short.

“He is the reason we were in the position we were in tonight,” Troy Brouwer simply stated about being in the game.

Crawford’s last moment of the season won’t be remembered as much as the moments that brought his team to a Game 7 overtime. If the Hawks were at all unsure of it, they found their goaltender of the future, despite losing four of the last seven games played. He was that good.

The winning goal

After the game Chris Campoli didn’t shy away from the negative attention. It was Campoli who’s clearing attempt landed in Burrows’ glove which he turned into the winning goal.

“I didn’t get it out,” Campoli said. “I didn’t get it over him [Burrows]. Those are the kind of turnovers you can’t have and it cost us the game.”

A stunned Crawford said he couldn’t “remember” much about the play.

“He took off for the slot and teed it up,” he said. “I don’t know if it went off our defenseman stick or not. Their guy made a great play.”

Campoli wore the mistake instead of giving credit to Burrows.

“I made the play, not him,” he said.

Power-less play

The Hawks desperately needed their power play to come through in the final game, but it came up short. There was no better chance than early in overtime in Game 7 when Duncan Keith was taken down. The Hawks already possessed the momentum off their shorthanded goal late in regulation but that didn’t carry over to the power play.

“I don’t think our power play was great tonight,” Keith bluntly stated.

There was one great look by Patrick Sharp which could have sent the Hawks home a winner. He set up for a back door try, as he has so often this year, but Robert Luongo made the game saving stop on the one-timer.

“He [Luongo] looked like he anticipated the play pretty well,” Quenneville noted. “[Sharp] needed a special shot but it was a good look. Probably the only one on that power play.”

That power play will haunt the Hawks all offseason. The attempt by Sharp also will be hard to forget.

Missing stars

The Hawks missed some key players in Game 7 though not because of injury. Patrick Kane led the group of no-shows eventually having to be taken off the top line after a seemingly disinterested night.

“What we didn’t do offensively led to us having to play more defense,” Quenneville said when asked about Kane.

Kane finished with four shots but simply didn’t have the puck enough, and when he did, there were few times a positive outcome occurred. Marian Hossa also had his rough moments in Game 7. It led to Quenneville giving young Marcus Kruger some critical shifts, among others.

The Quote: “I’m not going to be a sore loser. You have to show some respect for the team that beat you,” -Jonathan Toews on the Vancouver Canucks.