‘Two bad bounces’ frustrate Corey Crawford, lead to costly goals

Written By BY MARK POTASH Posted: 05/10/2014, 12:20am
Array Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) checks Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) into the boards as they battle for the puck during the first period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, May 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) ORG XMIT: MNAH103

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Like just about every one of his teammates, Corey Crawford could have been better Friday night.

Crawford has played well throughout the postseason, but he was left to rue two bad breaks that led to tiebreaking goals in the Hawks’ 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

“You’re never happy [with your performance] when you lose a hockey game,” said Crawford, who stopped 27 of 31 shots on goal. “I didn’t do enough to help this team win. I have to maybe try to do a little bit extra to give us a chance. We needed a big save on the penalty kill [trailing 3-2 in the third period] and unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

Actually the first three goals Crawford allowed were preventable, but Justin Fontaine’s laser from the right faceoff circle — after Matt Cooke stole the puck from Michal Rozsival — was hardly a cheapie.

“They were pretty excited about playing in this building. It’s a tough game,” Crawford said. “I don’t think we were at the level we could play. We tied it up twice and we caught two bad breaks in the second [period]. It just didn’t go our way. That’s pretty frustrating. We’ve just got to find a way to take whatever we did well in this game and keep going.”

After Patrick Sharp tied the game at 1 with a goal with 38 seconds left in the first period, Crawford was caught off guard by Jason Pominville, who was trying to pass the puck from behind the net, only to have it go off Crawford’s skate for a tie-breaking goal that gave the Wild a 2-1 lead 3:51 into the ­second period.

“The pass was going out to the slot and I don’t know who it went off of — maybe [Jonathan Toews]. It just kind of changed direction,” Crawford said. “Those plays happen.”

A poorly executed line change led to the Wild’s next goal — 44 seconds after Michal Handzus had tied the game at 2 with a deflection 6:28 into the second period. Charlie Coyle fed Nino Niederreiter with a cross-ice pass and Niederreiter slipped past Rozsival and fired a shot from the left circle over Crawford’s left shoulder. It gave the Wild a 3-2 lead 7:12 into the second period.

“We got two bad bounces that found their way in the net,” Crawford said. “That third one … hit a stick on the way to the net and it drops a little bit. We got some good bounces in the first two games. The last two games we were on the other end of it. We’ve just got to come harder — dig down and come harder for the next game.”

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash

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