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Struggling Crawford will get the nod vs. Rangers

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 1:00 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Struggling Crawford will get the nod vs. Rangers
NEW YORK -- Corey Crawford hasn't played since allowing five goals on 27 shots in the Blackhawks' 5-3 loss in San Jose on Friday night.

The goaltender has spent the past five days on the bench as the Blackhawks' losing streak has reached an unwieldy nine games. When asked what he needs to do to get his game on the right track, he gave a straight-forward answer.

"Stopping pucks," Crawford said. "It's as simple as that."

The 27-year-old who was so impressive as a rookie last season has struggled mightily this season. Crawford, who will be in net against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, is 18-14-5 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .898 save percentage. He has seen his playing time dwindle, with backup Ray Emery getting more starts of late.

Corey Crawford
Goalie - CHI
RECORD: 18-14-5
GAA: 2.99 | SVP: 0.898
Crawford will get another chance Thursday to get himself on track.
"I've been working hard in practice, waiting for my chance to get back in," Crawford said. "I'm just going to go out there and play my game. I'm just worried about stopping pucks. I'm not thinking about the pressure or anything like that. I'm excited to get back in there. This is a big game for us. I want to end this (losing streak) now."

Crawford is 0-4-1 in his last five starts and hasn't won since Jan. 18. During his slump, he has allowed 19 goals and owns an .854 save percentage. Perhaps a sign of encouragement is from this date last year until the end of the season, Crawford went 16-7-3 and allowed two goals or less 12 times.

"We want to help him out as much as we can," forward Patrick Kane said. "We know the goaltender he can be. We saw it last year. He was unbelievable at the end of the season, making big save after big save. He's the last of our worries right now. It's nice to have him back in the pipes right now and see what he can do. I know he's been working hard at his game, hopefully it works out for him and the team."

Coach Joel Quenneville knows a goaltender at times can only be as good as the team in front of him.

"I think we all have to absorb some responsibility for the goals that are going in here -- our team defense, our goaltending and our play in our own end," Quenneville said. "Last year, he was rock solid down the stretch. This year, he maybe hasn't been at that level. But he's been good in games and good in stretches and we need him to recapture his confidence when he's on top of his game and I think we can feed off it as well."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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