After returning back just in time to spark an inspired playoff run for the Hawks, many would say that Crawford was near on perfect?
Looking at his GAA (which before the final stood at 1.74 and his save percentage which stood at .936) I would agree, but it seems the Bruins like to cause an argument to those stats as well as off the ice.
In the 2011 final it seemed that Roberto Luongo couldn’t cover a table with a cloth, let alone a net, but with Crawford in for the Hawks I was concerned for the Bruins. However it seems Danny Paille and Milan Lucic in particular have done their homework and targeted Crawford’s high glove side.
In game 1 Milan Lucic fired past Crawford’s glove side twice. The first goal I don’t think Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard or any other goaltender in the league could have stopped. The second goal however was a clear display to any young inspiring goaltender how not to use your glove…
Then in game 2 Danny Paille fired another high glove side shot that Crawford yet again failed to stop and the Bruins went on to win in OT. The Hawks are faced with the dilemma that the Bruins are exploiting a known the weakness of Crawford before the puck was dropped in game 1, but how do they stop it? Their defense needs to step up the blocked shots or they need to outscore the Bruins if they are to win the Stanley Cup.
A separate question all together is how do they beat Rask? Being a Bruins fan myself and watching Rask all season I would say his glove is not the strongest area of his game. Get men out in front of Rask and open the gaps for slap shots though traffic. As it stand posting 4 goals in game 1 the Hawks are heading for a goalless streak (182:26 heading into game 4) so coach Joel Quenneville is going to have to do something to rally his players and they challenge the Bruins for every loose puck.
Part of this inspiration is going to have to include Crawford doing his part and stopping those shots that have come whistling in high on his glove side.