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After a late-season injury to Ray Emery solidified Corey Crawford's status as the Blackhawks' starting goaltender, some fans still had their doubts. They recalled Crawford's play in the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Crawford has responded by silencing his naysayers and leading the Blackhawks to a 3-1 lead over the L.A. Kings in the Western Conference Final.
His play has been outstanding, especially in tight situations. His stats are near the top among netminders with a 11-5 record, 1.72 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
Crawford has no qualms about standing up for his teammates either, as evidenced by his coming to the defense of captain Jonathan Toews in Game 2, when Crawford grabbed the head of Kyle Clifford of the Kings' forward after Clifford had messed with Toews.
Billed with a tall order against Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick, Crawford has outplayed his counterpart so far. The Blackhawks will need him to continue to play well to increase their chances of getting back to the Stanley Cup Final.