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Corey Crawford 'amazing' for Blackhawks in OT loss

Moving on after making 46 saves in Game 3 against Predators

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Corey Crawford was showered and dressed before his Chicago Blackhawks teammates at Bridgestone Arena on Monday, nattily attired in a slick blue suit and ready to leave as fast as possible.

Not long after Kevin Fiala slid the puck into the Blackhawks net at 16:44 of overtime, giving the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series Monday, Crawford was ready to erase the memory.

He spoke in a low tone, tinged with anger that was fueled in equal parts by the 2-0 lead the Blackhawks coughed up in the third period and the 3-0 hole they now find themselves in this best-of-7 series.

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Blackhawks series coverage]

 

"I felt pretty good, but there were some tough breaks on the goals," said Crawford, who allowed two by Filip Forsberg in the third period, each upheld by video review. "I think everyone is a little [ticked] off and a little angry. We should be … we haven't played our best hockey yet, so it's time."

Crawford played his best game of the series, making 46 saves after allowing all five goals in a 5-0 loss in Game 2 at United Center on Saturday. He made 18 saves in the first period, nine in the second, 11 in the third and eight in overtime to keep Chicago's hopes alive.

His effort in overtime included a sprawling left-skate save at 13:56 against Fiala, who was unable to lift a quick wrist shot off a feed from James Neal.

All that mattered to Crawford was the one Fiala scored 2:48 later, along with the two Forsberg scored in the third.

Video: CHI@NSH, Gm3: Crawford denies back-to-back chances

"That was tough," Crawford said. "We played a lot better in this game, [and had] some more chances. I don't know, we were up 2-0 going into the third, and those ones you kind of have to win. It was definitely tough to take, but nothing is over yet. We haven't played our best hockey. Try to keep going."

The resentment in his voice spoke volumes, for himself and the Blackhawks, a team that won the Central Division and earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with 109 points.

Entering the playoffs, it looked like Chicago was headed for another long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now, the Blackhawks are one loss away from being swept in the first round.

It's something Crawford and the rest of the Blackhawks will get two days to mull over, prior to Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-TN, CSN-CH).

Video: CHI@NSH, Gm3: Crawford robs Fiala's point-blank shot

"We've been through situations like this before," Crawford said. "It's another one for us. We just have to bring our best game, that's all."

Crawford brought his for Game 3, but it wasn't enough. The Blackhawks are counting on a similar performance in Game 4, when they'll try to earn at least one more game at United Center this season.

"You need your best players to be your best players, and if there was anyone who was doing that, it was him," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said of Crawford. "He gave us a chance to win that game, and there's not much more you can ask from a guy like him."

It started in the first period, when the Predators outshot the Blackhawks 18-9 and applied consistent pressure that Crawford was forced to extinguish. He did the same in overtime, up until Fiala beat him with a move cutting left to right across the front of the net and scoring with a backhand to end it.

Video: CHI@NSH, Gm3: Crawford robs Fiala with skate in OT

"He played amazing," said Patrick Kane, whose first goal of the series put Chicago up 2-0 at 11:15 of the second period. "[He] kept us in the game in the third, kept us in the game in overtime and in the first period. I think our only good period tonight was the second."

Crawford had no time for plaudits. He had no interest in commenting about the odd bounce off a stanchion that led to Forsberg's first goal or the game-tying goal, which Forsberg scored after Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson contacted Crawford just outside the crease.

The Blackhawks asked for a video review to see if there was goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld. Asked about each goal afterward, Crawford had the same answer.

"I don't know," he said. "The game's over."

He's moving on.

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