CHICAGO – Corey Crawford was there every time. Slap shots, wristers, backhands and tips, he stopped each one of them.
The Chicago Blackhawks needed a rebound game from their goaltender, and he delivered in a big way.
Crawford made 34 saves in his third career postseason shutout, and the Blackhawks got back into their playoff series with the St. Louis Blues with a 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night.
“I’m just going shot by shot,” Crawford said. “It’s all I could do the whole game was worry about the next one and focus on the next shot and stop that. I don’t want anything else going through my mind through that hockey game.”
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Jonathan Toews and Marcus Kruger scored as the defending Stanley Cup champions bounced back after two overtime losses in St. Louis. Toews’ 21st postseason goal was the second score by a Blackhawks forward in the series.
“Three games in a row. It’s been a very intense series and extremely close,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Ryan Miller shook off another slow start and finished with 23 saves, but Toews’ shot at 4:10 of the first went through the goaltender’s pads and was the only score for most of the game.
“It’s not a good goal. We’ll leave it at that,” Miller said.
It was quite a turnaround for Crawford, who was upset with his play after Saturday’s 4-3 loss. Barret Jackman’s winning goal in Game 2 went through Crawford, prompting the goaltender to say he had to play better for Chicago to win.
Quenneville met with Crawford on Sunday, and he responded with one of the best games of his career.
“We have a lot of one-on-one meetings throughout the season, but we get ramped up at playoff time,” said Quenneville, a former NHL defenseman. “I generally stay away from the goalies. We chatted. Basically I was commending him on accepting that responsibility (for the loss).”
Crawford drew chants of “Co-rey! Co-rey from the capacity crowd at the United Center. He was helped by a sound performance by Duncan Keith and Chicago’s defensemen, who stepped up without the suspended Brent Seabrook.
Penguins 4, at Blue Jackets 3
Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive Pittsburgh in a victory over Columbus.
Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven East first-round series thanks to the goals on three consecutive shots.
Brooks Orpik added a goal in the final seconds of the second period as the Penguins stormed back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1. Marc-Andre Fleury had 17 saves.
At Wild 1, Avalanche 0 (OT)
Mikael Granlund’s diving goal 5:08 into overtime allowed Minnesota to reduce Colorado’s lead to 2-1 in their West series.
Semyon Varlamov of Avalanche stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record for shots on goal by the Wild.
Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves.
At Stars 3, Ducks 0
Kari Lehtonen made 37 saves for his first career postseason victory and Dallas won its first home playoff game in six years. Anaheim leads the West series 2-1.
Dallas captain Jamie Benn skated out of the penalty box to score late in the first period, and 19-year-old rookie Valeri Nichushkin added a goal.