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Crawford feels good after first playoff shutout

04/24/2011 6:02 PM

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The hockey world will spend the next two days talking about the other goalie in this series, the more famous with the big contract who has a mountain of pressure resting on his broad shoulders heading into Game 6 Sunday in Chicago.

But, it's
Corey Crawford that everyone should be applauding. The Blackhawks' 26-year-old rookie is looking more and more like a playoff veteran as the games pass by.

Well after Roberto Luongo had given up four more goals and was pulled less than 22 minutes into the Thursday night’s game, Crawford was completing his first career playoff shutout with 36 saves in a 5-0 win at Rogers Arena that pulled the once left-for-dead Blackhawks within one game of tying the series and forcing it to go seven games.

"It feels good," Crawford said of his shutout, "but the win feels a little bit better.

"But, yeah, I felt good today," he added. "This is probably the best I felt in a while, in the last couple of weeks."

Crawford will get overlooked because he was not the reason the Blackhawks lost the first three games and he's not the reason they've won the last two. Nevertheless, after his flawless performance Thursday, Crawford now has two wins in this series, a 2.24 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

He has stopped 57 of 59 shots to do his part in helping the Hawks win the last two games.

"He had a special game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Crawford's outing Thursday. "His rebound control was excellent. He had a lot more touches than he normally has and he was strong with that, too. It was a special night for him."

And, another special night for the Blackhawks, who will continue to need their regular-Joe goalie to outplay the supposed world-class guy on the other end if they want to win this series.

"Just try and keep that focus, keep that preparation and keep those feelings," Crawford said of what's important now. "Try to remember how it felt to work hard and make the right plays and stick with it throughout the whole game. We have to remember those feelings and keep playing hard."