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On Crawford, Quick and the Western Conference Final goalfest

May 29, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT

CrawfordQuick Getty Images

The last two goalies to win the Stanley Cup are currently up against one another in the Western Conference Final, but it’s hardly been a puck-stopping spectacle through the first five games.

Corey Crawford: 2-3, .882 save percentage, 3.41 GAA

Jonathan Quick: 3-2, .894 save percentage, 2.83 GAA

Quick’s best game of the series probably came in Game 2, when he stopped 23 of 25 shots — several of the highlight-reel variety — to help the Kings win their first-ever playoff game at the United Center.

Crawford’s best? The series opener was good (25 saves in a 3-1 win) but last night’s Game 5 OT win likely bests it, especially since Crawford — facing elimination for the first time this postseason — slammed the door shut for the final 49 minutes of action after allowing this softie to give L.A. a 4-3 lead:

What’s most surprising about developments on both the Quick and Crawford fronts is that, prior to the Western Conference Final, both were playing exceptionally well and posting great numbers. In Round 2, Crawford allowed just 12 goals in six games against the Wild, posting a .926 save percentage; Quick, facing elimination in Games 6 and 7 against Anaheim, stopped 46 of 49 shots (a .939 save percentage).

So… what’s gone wrong in this series?

“We haven’t been playing as well defensively this series, compared to the other two series. It’s more a reflection of how the whole team plays, and not just Crow,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Especially on the penalty kill, we’ve been letting in way too many goals.

“We can make an overall better effort to play defense.”

As for the Kings? Consider what Drew Doughty said (per LA Kings Insider) about last night’s first period, in which the Kings surrendered three goals in the first 11 minutes:

On the Game 5 loss:

It was a crappy loss and I’m not happy about that obviously. We would have liked to have closed it out tonight, but what can you do? We’re going back home and that’s where we’re comfortable.

[Reporter: Was it a crappy loss because you gave up so many goals?]

Yeah, for sure and the start we had was awful.

Poor defensive coverage. Slow starts. The calling cards, really, of teams trying to protect their goalies. But make no mistake about it — regardless of what the Chicago or L.A. skaters say, the goaltending hasn’t been great this series and neither ‘tender has stolen a game like they have in previous rounds.

(Quick’s signature steal was Game 2 against the Ducks, when L.A. was outshot 37-16 yet won 3-1; for Crawford it was Game 6 of the Wild series, as Chicago was outshot 35-27 yet won 2-1 in OT… at Xcel, no less.)

Will one of these two Cup-winning goalies stamp their authority on this series in Game 6?

Or, if it gets there, Game 7?

  1. cfos00 - May 29, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    As good as Crow was last year and even up to this series, he’s let in several softies against the Kings. He has to be better if the Hawks want to bring the Kings back to Chicago. The defense has been coughing up some terrible turnovers and lord knows the PK has been god awful, but there have been multiple goals that good goaltenders don’t let by them. And he is a good goalie. I hope he just gets his head right before it’s too late.

  2. McFaddensPulledHammy - May 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Quick sucked last night. His rebound control was non-extistent. Doesn’t matter if there are guys like Saad, Smith, Oduya in front of the net waiting to clean garbage up if there weren’t any rebounds.

    Crawford has been bad because there are two Kings in his grill because the defense doesn’t clear them out. A couple of softies is showing his confidence is a little shaken.

  3. comeonnowguys - May 29, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    These two goalies are facing some offensive buzzsaws right now (Kings? really). Blackhawks numbers may not reflect it it, but playing St. Louis and Minnesota has a tendency to depress things.

    I’m seeing a top-line Seabrook drift aimlessly happening too often to start flipping out about Crawford.

    Every goalie lets in softies. Crawford normally lets in a few more on top of that. That said, only one of those last night was completely on him. After that, if he wasn’t on his game throughout the third and overtime, they’re clearing out lockers and golfing today.

    • comeonnowguys - May 29, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      top-pair*

  4. nothanksimdriving123 - May 29, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Some of us of a certain vintage recall the 1973 Finals, Hawks and Habs, featuring two of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Ken Dryden and Tony Esposito. Each team had at least a couple of All-Star defensemen. It was obvious goals would be very hard to come by. Ha. Four of the six games saw 10 or more goals, including an 8-7 thriller. Total of 56 goals in six games. Stuff happens.

  5. aldog83 - May 29, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    The Blackhawks and Kings are the 2 best teams in Hockey.

    Both teams are deep and have defenseman who can score.

    So both Crow and Quick are facing the best the league has to offer them.

    So high scoring games can happen with two great teams.

    Just depends on the pace of that particular game.

    I would think whoever comes out of this should win the cup.

    But ya never know…..and thats why we watch!

    Great playoff! (Especially for Kings and Hawks fan….we have been spoiled with 3 yrs of this)

    • killerpooh - Jun 2, 2014 at 1:28 AM

      This was the best playoff series in a very long time. It should have been the cup finals, not the western conference finals. Although the SCF is the SCF, it is not likely to be played at this level of intensity or this level of skill, and will probably be anti-climatic in some respects.

      I expect to see CHI-LAK in the WCF next year as well, barring significant injury. In fact, LAK-CHI may meet in the WCF for some years to come on a regular basis .. can’t wait ..

  6. blomfeld - May 30, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    The ‘loid’ Crawford will now be dealt with …

  7. 16thearlofderby - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Lord Stanley’s Cup is headng west

  8. 16thearlofderby - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Lord Stanley’s Cup is heading west

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