CHICAGO – Corey Crawford is the Chicago Blackhawks' starting goaltender, and coach Joel Quenneville says he won't have it any other way.
Quenneville reaffirmed that stance Thursday after Crawford gave up five goals on 33 shots in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins. Quenneville said not considering handing the reins over to backup Ray Emery for Game 5 Saturday night back at United Center.
“Not at all,” Quenneville said. “No, we're very comfortable with Corey. Corey has been rock solid all year for us, and when he's got the ball, he's been outstanding, and he's the biggest reason why we're here today.”
Crawford still has a 1.86 goals-against average and .931 save percentage even after his struggles Wednesday night. Teammates said they weren't concerned about the goaltender's performance and pointed to defensive improvements that were needed.
“I don't really see anything terribly wrong with the way he played,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “Maybe some of the shots from far out that went in overshadowed some of the stops that he did make.”
Crawford drew heat for how much the Bruins exploited his glove side. Quenneville called it “one of those games where pucks were going in.”
“We'll visit with that, but all year long Corey has just moved on and he just moves from save to save and it doesn't faze him,” he said. “I'm sure he'll be excited about getting back in there and get a good practice under our belt in the morning skate, and he'll be back to doing his thing.”
Based on the Bruins' success against him in Game 4, doing their thing means shooting the puck at Crawford's catching hand as often as possible. Boston players tried to laugh that off as a strategy.
“The few goals were on the glove side there,” forward Brad Marchand said. “But there's a ton of really nice opportunities we had there that he saved on the glove side as well. So just lucky shots.”
Emery hasn't appeared in the playoffs and last played April 24 against the Edmonton Oilers. That won't change for the start of Game 5 as the Blackhawks stick with Crawford without reservation.
“He's had that maturity and that character all year that he's been able to bounce back,” Toews said. “I'm not too worried about how he's going to play in the next game.”