Los Angeles • Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick both realize that even a Stanley Cup ring doesn’t protect a goalie from criticism after a bad game.
Crawford and Quick also don’t care, and perhaps that’s why they’re still chasing a second championship.
Chicago at Los Angeles, 6 p.m., Ch. 5
Series tied 1-1
Montreal at N.Y. Rangers, 6 p.m., NBCSN
Rangers lead series 2-1
The NHL’s last two Cup-winning goalies meet again when the Los Angeles Kings host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Crawford realizes he’s under a spotlight after the Blackhawks allowed six goals in the final 22 minutes of Game 2 while the Kings dramatically evened the series. Crawford was in net for five of them, matching his worst goals-against total of the season.
But Crawford has shrugged off criticism for his entire career with the Blackhawks, and one bad playoff game isn’t about to bother him. After two days off, he’s confident the defending champions can get back on top of their formidable game on the road.
"We’ve said a million times, not everything is going to go your way all the time," Crawford said Friday after practice at Staples Center. "So we’ve got to keep playing hard, keep playing the way you can."
Crawford acknowledged feeling personal disappointment "maybe a little bit after the game, but there’s things I could fix easily. There was a couple of mistakes in my game. You look over it with the goalie coach and try to adjust what I did wrong."
The Blackhawks can’t understand why doubt still exists about their goalie’s credentials, but they realize it’s out there. They’re more focused on their own play in front of Crawford after Los Angeles embarrassed them.
"He comes back strong after every game," said Patrick Kane, who beat out Crawford for the Conn Smythe Trophy last summer. "He’s a great goaltender. A lot of us in here feel he’s the best in the league."
He has also been accountable. When the Blackhawks gave away two late leads during overtime defeats in their first two playoff games, Crawford attempted to take the blame, and he bounced back with nine wins in his next 11 starts.
"I think every year, he has matured in different ways," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
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