Corey Crawford Between the Pipes for Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday
After another Marty Turco disaster on Monday night, it will be Corey Crawford getting another start for the Chicago Blackhawks in the second leg of a home-and-home with the Colorado Avalanche.
After the Avs chased Turco from the net on Monday, Crawford came in and nearly won it for the Blackhawks. However, the lack of defensive help, notably from stars Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, resulted in Crawford getting hit with the loss, despite giving up just the two goals. It was Craw's first regulation loss since November 7th.
While Crawford's last two decisions have been losses, many have noted that these were two of his better performances. After a 28 save performance against San Jose, Crawford was just a Viktor Stalberg disallowed goal from winning his eighth straight. Instead, the Hawks lost a tightly contested contest and Crawford was saddled with the overtime loss.
On Monday against Colorado, Crawford was thrown into the fire against the Avs. With the Hawks playing no defense against the Colorado speed, Crawford stood on his head multiple times, but the lack of help from the D resulted in the loss.
On the season, Crawford has easily eclipsed any expectations he had coming into the season. After barely losing the backup job to Antti Niemi last season, Crawford looks to be creating his own Niemi-type story this season. On the season, the 25-year-old has posted a .914 save percentage and a 2.39 GAA. Much more impressive than Turco's .896 and 3.06 line.
Much of the reasoning behind Crawford's solid play as compared to the disappointment of Turco could be because of their styles. Turco is widely recognized for his cavalier style with the puck, often coming out of the net to play it. His size (or lack of) has also led to him scrambling around, something the defensemen have had trouble adjusting to.
However, with Crawford, it's very similar to what the Hawks had with Antti Niemi. He's a big solid goaltender, and with Crawford in the crease, the defenders feel confident jumping into the offensive play, which is something not seen with Turco.
No matter how well Crawford plays on Wednesday night, it will be all for naught if the blue line can't get their game together. Though after Monday, I'd certainly expect a big improvement in accounting for the speed of the Avalanche. Expect a much tighter defense, and expect Seabrook to pay attention to where Matt Duchene is on Wednesday.