Corey Crawford stellar again as Blackhawks rally against Wild but fall in overtime
Crawford has started seven of the Hawks’ last 11 games now and has a .935 save percentage in his last five starts.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Blackhawks’ goaltending seesaw has tilted back to Corey Crawford, for now.
Crawford made his second consecutive start after the bye week Tuesday night and looked fantastic again with 31 saves, keeping the Hawks alive long enough for them to rally for a tie in the third period and earn a point in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Wild.
Robin Lehner almost certainly will start at home against the Bruins on Wednesday, but the No. 1 job — which seemed clearly his a month ago — is back to uncertain.
“All year, both guys are constantly trying to prove they deserve more,” coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game. “That’s the type of competitors they are. [And] that competition has been really healthy for us.”
Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2, Lehner started six of seven games, with outstanding results. But a knee injury in Vancouver on Jan. 2 derailed his momentum, and Crawford has started seven of 11 games since.
Crawford now has a 3-1-1 record and .935 save percentage in his last five starts, while Lehner has a 3-2-0 record and .899 save percentage in his last five.
“All year, [Corey’s] been great — not just the last month and a half,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “Early on there, we weren’t playing well as a team — as good as we have been lately — so he got hung out to dry there a few times. But if you look at games, he was making big save after big save.”
As the trade deadline nears, the two pending free agent goalies will be the subject of plenty of rumors, although it seems unlikely the Hawks would trade either as long as they’re on the playoff bubble.
They’ll need better efforts than Tuesday’s, however, to stay on that bubble. They were beaten 26-10 in shot attempts in the first period and struggled to make clean, fluid breakouts all game.
“[It has] been a while since we played that poorly,” Colliton said.