Hockey / Sports

Blackhawks' Crawford looks to shake a bad game

LOS ANGELES -- Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has only five playoff losses this season, and his teammates marvel at the way he shakes off a loss.

But his first four all came in pairs.

A 4-3 overtime loss against the Blues was followed by another 4-3 overtime defeat before he strung together six straight victories, allowing more than two goals only once in the span. Then a 4-0 loss to the Wild, when he gave up three goals, was shadowed by a 4-2 setback.

His teammates and coach said they're confident Crawford already has moved on from the 6-2 defeat against the Kings in Game 2 on Wednesday. They don't plan on seeing a repeat when they face the Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Saturday at Staples Center.

"He has moved forward after all his games, ordinary games as well," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought he was fine last game. I thought he had a great practice out here today. Just the way he handles the next situation is something that shows he really has developed."

Crawford, who owns a 2.11 goals-against average, didn't sound rattled Friday after practice.

"There are things I can fix easily," he said. "There were a couple of mistakes in my game that just don't happen. Look over it with the goalie coach and try to adjust from what I did wrong."

Star struck: What's behind the Hawks' three victories in the last four games at the celebrity-magnet Staples Center?

"The movie stars in the stands?" Bryan Bickell guessed.

People-watching at Kings games definitely can be a game of celebrity "I Spy." But there's probably more to it than motivation by an onlooking celebrity.

"It's a good atmosphere here," Bickell said. "We play simple here. I think when we play on the road, we play simple. They're a patient team that likes to make plays and capitalize on our turnovers. If we simplify on the road like we have, we play good hockey."

Other players said the success has more to do with the opponents on the ice than the stars in the stands.

"It's a good team we're playing against," Andrew Shaw said. "We always play our best when we're playing such great teams."

There will be at least one famous person to catch a glimpse of at the game. Slash, the former guitarist from Guns N Roses, is to play the national anthem.

Faceoff time: Through the regular season, the Kings and Blackhawks were two of the top five teams in faceoff winning percentage. They have excelled at winning faceoffs in the playoffs as well, with the Kings at 53.2 percent and the Hawks at 50.2.

In Game 2, the Kings got the best of the Hawks, winning 61 percent.

"We looked at it," Quenneville said. "We talked about it as a group, particularly the guys who take draws. We're facing one of the best teams in the league in that area. They all have experience. They all are very effective at it as well. Trying to get it closer to 50-50 is what we're looking at."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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