Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Crawford Rebounds Behind Stronger Defensive Effort from Blackhawks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Crawford Rebounds Behind Stronger Defensive Effort from Blackhawks

Article excerpt

Blackhawks' Crawford rebounds in Game 5

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CHICAGO - Chicago Blackhawks players heard questions about Corey Crawford after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final and vowed to make their starting goaltender's job easier by playing better defence in front of him. They delivered in a Game 5 victory over the Boston Bruins.

Crawford had to deflect more questions about a faulty glove hand between games than he had to stop quality chances Saturday night. Still, in making 23 saves on 24 shots, he bounced back in a big way and helped the Blackhawks close in on another title.

"I think it was a big effort by everyone to come back, play defensively, block shots, sacrifice our bodies to block those pucks and quickly get on to offence," Crawford said. "Our guys have done that stuff all year, all year long, playing a defensive game."

Chicago's defensive game was lacking despite winning Game 4 in overtime to tie the series. But so much of the attention was focused on Crawford, who gave up five goals all on his glove side.

Defenceman Duncan Keith was "a little bit amused" by the criticism of Crawford, who not too long ago was getting some Conn Smythe Trophy buzz. No one's faulting Crawford after he allowed just one goal -- a howitzer by Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara -- in Game 5 at United Center.

"It's funny we keep answering questions about Corey after every game and I'll give you the same answer: We don't have any questions about him," left-winger Patrick Sharp said. "He's been great for us from start to finish. Even giving up five goals, we could care less, we know he's going to be a rock back there."

"Rock solid" is how coach Joel Quenneville described Crawford, who's experiencing his first real run of success in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He was the third goaltender on the 2010 team that finished the job to capture the franchise's first Cup since 1961. …

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