By Ben Meyer-Abbott
Glendale, Ariz. - Asked about goalie Corey Crawford following the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Phoenix Coyotes, Joel Quenneville was succinct.
"Rock solid," the Hawks coach said.
Quenneville had briefly floated he idea Friday that he might pull Crawford from net and install backup Ray Emery for Game 5 at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday after Crawford had allowed soft goals in overtime of Games 3 and 4.
But Quenneville elected to stick with his starter and was rewarded with a strong, bounce-back effort from Crawford.
"I felt good, just trying to carry over the feelings from the last couple games, the things I did right," said Crawford, who has a 2.32 goals against average and a .906 save percentage in the series. "But we played a really solid game. I didn't have to do too much, a couple key saves maybe here and there."
Perhaps Crawford's biggest stop came late in the second period when he stoned Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival with a nice glove-save on a shot from the left circle to keep his team within a goal before Nick Leddy scored in the third period and Jonathan Toews grabbed the game-winning goal in overtime.
"That was a pass from down-low to up-high," Crawford said. "I didn't think he was that close in, I kind of slid then got up and then just got a little piece of it."
The defense in front of Crawford has gotten better as the series has gone along. The Hawks held the Coyotes to 19 shots for the second consecutive game after allowing 30 or more in the first three games of the series.
"[Game 5] was probably our best game defensively this series," Crawford said. "Everyone was coming back hard, we were in shooting lanes. We just didn't give them a lot."