Corey Crawford: Chicago Blackhawks Capitalize on Goalie's Growing Talent

Tyler JuranovichCorrespondent IIIJanuary 13, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 12: Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks rejects a shot by Daniel Winnik #34 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on January 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Things are beginning to come together for the Blackhawks. After a 4-0 shutout, the second in a row, the team has a three-game winning streak, and both the offense and defense are hitting their high points this season. 

Goaltender Corey Crawford has been phenomenal. His growing reliability is very similar to Antti Niemi's reliability last season. 

His big saves in drastic times gives fans and players a sense of comfort, knowing that Crawford can make the big save after a gaffe or on a breakaway. It's a wonderful talent to have in a goaltender, because it allows the team to relax and focus on getting on the offensive attack. 

The Blackhawks are doing just that. 

A 12-2 goal differential during the three-game winning streak shows not only an improvement on offense, but an improvement on defense as well. 

Recently brought-up defenseman Nick Leddy has shown incredible improvements since the beginning of the season. Paired with Jordan Hendry, Leddy has shown great puck possession as well as patience, two very key traits for a defenseman to show. 

We should not overlook the impact Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are having on the Blackhawks' recent success. No other team burned them as bad in previous meetings, than the speedy Colorado Avalanche, but Wednesday night the tides shifted, and Seabrook and Keith were on the ice for all four Hawk goals.  

Life's easier when your defense plays well. 

On top of the defense showing signs of life, the offense is coming together. Patrick Sharp is continuing to light the lamp. His 25 goals lead the team and he is tied for fourth in the league. 

Patrick Kane is beginning to show signs of an improved offensive attack. Kane wasn't his usual self early on, but in the past week he has changed that. Kane is increasingly becoming a threat on the ice. He's more noticeably on the attack and the power play, forcing teams to focus on him some more, which in turn gives more opportunities to other forwards. 

This three-game win streak is something to be truly happy about as a Hawks fan. This team isn't just winning; they're winning with astounding force.