The Chicago Blackhawks have started the new season on a high note after bowing out early in the playoffs a year ago. The team has shown off its offense with 15 goals in two games, showing they have no intention of slowly fading away into obscurity. However, despite the success of the team’s offense, there is little attention focused on another key player, that of goaltender Corey Crawford, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s Tracey Myers.
The veteran netminder has allowed just one goal in each of his first two starts, but has made many tough saves to keep the team’s lopsided scores as impressive as they were. Crawford’s .968 save percentage has been critical and has gotten the team off to another impressive start to start the season as he has stopped a few breakaway and second chances against him. While no one thinks those numbers are sustainable after just two games, Crawford spent much of the offseason working with former goaltender Jimmy Waite on the little parts of his game.
“I mean, he made several key saves,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I like him around the net. He’s cutting off plays that they’re trying to make that could generate even more chances. His anticipation in that area has been outstanding, he’s been moving the puck well, he’s square and seems like he’s very involved. A lot of good things have happened in a couple of games, but Crow’s been rock solid.”
- Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen is closing in on returning to practice with the team during their four-game road trip that starts on Monday. Steen, who broke his hand on Sept. 19 when he was slashed by the Stars’ Antoine Roussel, has been skating on his own prior to some practices, but is closer to rejoining the team than defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who is recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered in a preseason game on Sept. 17. However, Thomas writes that even Bouwmeester is inching towards a return, but Steen has the advantage.
- Adam Vingan of the Tennessean writes that the Nashville Predators went with Juuse Saros Saturday due to Pekka Rinne’s lack of success when it comes to playing in PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Rinne, who lost all three of his starts there in the Stanley Cup finals (to go with a .755 save percentage there) and has never won there in six career starts. Saros, making his first start, allowed the first goal after 66 seconds of play, but played better once he settled down. He still allowed four goals, while Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray picked up his third shutout in a row against Nashville, including two shutouts in the Stanley Cup finals.