Crawford’s shutout streak ends in loss to Canadiens

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CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01: Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks sprawls to make a save against the Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center on November 1, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Flyers 3-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

by Scott King

Things were trending upward for the Hawks prior to Sunday’s bout vs. the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

After failing to convert on 18 straight power plays and losing three straight, Chicago scored power play goals in back-to-back games Wednesday and Saturday that sparked a two-game winning streak.

Most impressive from the last two games is goaltender Corey Crawford recording shutouts in both contests. Crawford made 35 saves vs. the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday and 24 in Minnesota on Saturday.

The starting goalie would also be in net on Sunday for his second start in two days.

Montreal goalie Charlie Lindgren would only be in net for his fourth NHL game with starting goaltender Carey Price injured. (lower-body).

It wouldn’t be until a minute and 54 seconds into the third period that the first goal would come. Montreal forward Jonathan Drouin scored after Hawks defenseman Michal Kempny got caught pinching. Former Hawk Andrew Shaw picked up a secondary assist on the goal.

The Drouin goal ended a Corey Crawford shutout streak that lasted over eight periods – 173 minutes and nine seconds to be precise.

Later on in the third a Connor Murphy turnover also ended up in the back of the Hawks’ net to give Montreal a 2-0 lead. Joe Morrow was the scorer. Shaw also assisted on Morrow’s goal. Shaw grabbed two power play goals in Winnipeg on Saturday night as well.

“Just getting back to my game,” Shaw said of his recent hot streak. “Going to the net, creating stuff, being hard on the forecheck. I felt like I was playing good, bounces just weren’t going my way. I knew if just kept sticking to it and keep working and keep going to the net, eventually the flood gates will open.”

2-0 would be the final score as Lindgren would have a 38-save shutout in just his fourth NHL game.

“He’s outstanding, he’s unbelievable,” Shaw said of the Canadiens’ goaltender. “I’ve had the opportunity to see him play a few games. He’s been stellar in every single game I’ve seen him play. He’s confident, he’s strong, we trust him. We know he’s going to battle for us and we’re going to do the same for him.”

Corey Crawford has been outstanding and unbelievable for the Hawks from the start of the season, but he can’t score goals for them.

According to Patrick Kane, who knows a thing or two about scoring, when it comes to the offense, the Blackhawks need to start to make the most of their opportunities.

“It could be chalked up to a few different things,” Kane said. “Just kind of bearing down on our chances. Seems like there’s some loose pucks around the net that we can’t really get there in time, or when we do, we can’t put it in the right place to put it in the net.

“A little rusty in that area. Tonight I think we generated some pretty good things. We had some high quality. Sometimes you want to make it a little bit harder on a goalie you haven’t seen before. … Would have been nice to get the lead tonight too.”

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville liked the first half of the game, but beyond that he was displeased with the same lingering issues the team has had.

“Thought we were pretty good for the first 30 minutes, after that we slowed down quite a bit,” Quenneville said. “Couldn’t score. Obviously next goal was going to be huge. Last night we turned it into two points, tonight we get nothing. All comes out [to] what you deserve.”

When asked if he was worried about the team’s offense, Quenneville responded:

“I’m starting to think about it.”

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