Corey Crawford has arguably allowed just two bad goals in this series against the Phoenix Coyotes. Unfortunately, both of them have been overtime game-winners, and have given the Coyotes a 3-1 lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal series.So with the Blackhawks facing elimination, will there be a goaltending change?Well talk about it, coach Joel Quenneville said Friday, before the Blackhawks departed for Arizona, where theyll play Game 5 on Saturday night. Crawford has been good throughout most of this series, the goals hes allowed mostly through traffic or deflections. But the back-to-back winners that Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker got past him were soft one from a bad angle, the other barely pushed through so the question had to be asked.So will it be Crawford or backup Ray Emery? Quenneville isnt showing his hand now, and may not until game time on Saturday.We dont foresee making an announcement, he said about Game 5s starter.Crawford is certainly not the only one to blame for how this series has gone for the Blackhawks. The team has constantly talked about getting ugly goals, and that phrase was uttered again on Friday. But the talk hasnt translated into action nearly enough. Meanwhile, the Coyotes have pounced on Blackhawks mistakes and stayed patient en route to a 3-1 series lead. Mike Smiths stalwart work in goal hasnt hurt, either.We need more shots, more traffic, we need to play tight against those guys, Quenneville said. We need to be more tenacious.Meanwhile, Quenneville said there has been no change in Marian Hossas status. He is not traveling for Game 5. Brandon Saad is the only member of the black aces going on this trip.
The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.
1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”
2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.
3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”
4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”
5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.