RALEIGH, N.C. — For a while during the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 loss Saturday in Philadelphia, goalie Corey Crawford was a one-man team.
He stoned the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds with a great save and slammed the door on Travis Konecny on a breakaway.
Frankly, it was an act we had seen more than once since Crawford’s return to action Oct. 18 after a nearly 10-month layoff as he dealt with the aftereffects of a concussion.
But Crawford’s bottom-line results have been too poor lately to continue to separate him from the subjects of the Hawks’ seasonlong defensive breakdowns and their teamwide inability to put together a complete game.
Speaking of which, it turns out there are 60 regulation minutes in an NHL game. Who knew? We’ve learned this because virtually everyone on the Hawks with the gift of speech has been working ‘‘60 minutes’’ into every other sentence.
Most of the comments are in the context of maintaining core defensive principles for the full game, keeping the pressure turned up in the offensive zone or not letting up the intensity even after mistakes happen.
All those areas have been problematic. Of course, it might be more about the Hawks’ overall talent level and the construction of their roster than it is about their effort and mental toughness.
But Crawford’s own play might be ebbing and flowing, too, and that would be a serious concern, given how crucial his performance is to the Hawks’ chances of winning any game, let alone enough of them to make some noise.
In his first four games this season, Crawford stopped 106 of 112 shots for a save percentage of .946. In his five since — all losses, as the Hawks flail through an 0-6-1 stretch entering their game Monday against the Hurricanes — he has saved only 141 of 162 shots (.870).
The team around him might be a shell of what the Hawks were during their heyday, but Crawford has authored some sketchy stretches, too.
‘‘We could give more,’’ he said. ‘‘You could always give more. [But] it’s not a case of we’re not working. I don’t know. Maybe try to work a little smarter?
‘‘To ask me what the answer is, I don’t know. Just some mistakes in key points in the game. I’m not coming up with big saves in key points of the game. There’s a few things that are just coming together now that are losing hockey games.’’
Backup goalie Cam Ward wasn’t a world-beater as the Hawks got off to a 3-0-2 start without Crawford, with all five games coming in overtime, but it might be a good time for him to take a turn in goal — and not just because he played the first 13 seasons of his career with the Hurricanes. Happy homecoming aside, a fresh look really couldn’t hurt at the
The Hawks’ winless streak would’ve been stressful enough without the sudden firing of longtime coach Joel Quenneville. Two games into the Jeremy Colliton era, things appear to be kind of a blur for everyone.
‘‘I don’t know what the answer is, but it seems like there are always tough stretches in a season,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘We’ve just got to dig ourselves out of it.’’