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Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford gives up 6 goals but feels good after 2 starts

Corey Crawford has felt good physically in two games since after returning from a concussion. | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — It’ll be time to scrutinize Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford’s performance soon. For now, the most important thing is that he keeps playing.

Crawford came off a two-month hiatus with a reasonably good game to beat the Ducks, but couldn’t bail the Hawks out in their 6-3 meltdown against the Kings on Saturday. He stopped 19 of 25 shots as Los Angeles repeatedly ripped through the defense for prime scoring opportunities.

“I felt good the whole time,” Crawford said. “I just didn’t stop too many.”

The Hawks fell behind 2-0 in the first five minutes when Dustin Brown got loose for a semi-breakaway and Sean Walker blasted one through a crowd at the net on a shot Crawford probably never saw. Both goals were on Kings power plays.

Brendan Perlini scored twice and Connor Murphy added one to make it 3-3, but the Kings kept firing. Brendan Leipsic buried the Hawks with 15 minutes left on a point-blank shot that spun end over end, and Crawford lost track of it.

“We didn’t give him much help,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “They had a lot of clear looks.”

The Hawks yielded seven high-danger scoring chances, per Natural Stat Trick, and the Kings scored on four of them.

Crawford’s play of the day had nothing to do with minding the net. He saw the Kings make an inattentive line change early in the second period and send the puck to Perlini at the blue line for a breakaway goal.


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It was Crawford’s fifth assist, the most among NHL goalies.

In his first two games since going on Injured Reserve with a concussion, he stopped 48 of 57 shots. He had a .902 save percentage in 23 games before the injury.

He said he has felt good physically and expects to continue improving with more game action.

Now he likely gets an extended break with Colliton almost certain to play Cam Ward, who has .911 save percentage and 3.11 goals against average in his last nine appearances, at San Jose on Sunday. Ward will have gotten a week off since stopping 25 of 29 in the loss to Dallas.

The rotation gives Crawford four days to rest and critique his play before his next possible start, which would be Thursday at home against the Sabres.

“Just practice hard,” he said of plans in the meantime. “I don’t know what there is to work on, but you’re just trying to stop as many pucks in practice as you can and just come back out and battle.”