BOSTON (CBS) –As Joel Quenneville guards details of Marian Hossa’s injury like a secret of the state, one bit of strategy from the Stanley Cup Final has become as clear as day: When the Bruins shoot, they’re aiming for Corey Crawford’s glove side.
Through four games of the Final, the Bruins have scored 12 goals, and it’s obvious that they have one target in sight when they release their shots. That was never more evident than on Wednesday night in Game 4, when the Bruins time after time after time got pucks past Crawford’s left side.
Rich Peverley’s wrist shot from about 40 feet was in and out of the net before Crawford ever moved his left arm. Milan Lucic’s backhand chip from in close sailed past Crawford’s glove. Crawford tried and failed to use his glove to fight off Patrice Bergeron’s one-timed slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle. Johnny Boychuk’s rocket from the high slot flew past Crawford’s glove. Heck, even the bizarre bounce off the glass and back over the net led to Bergeron beating Crawford to the glove side.
Despite the glaring weakness for Crawford and the obvious intentions of the Bruins, the goaltender said he can’t change his approach or start assuming where shots will go.
“Well, yeah, it’s pretty obvious,” Crawford said of the Bruins’ target after he earned the win with just 28 saves on 33 shots. “But I can’t start thinking about it. That’s when I think I’ll get myself in trouble, if I start thinking about that the whole time. I’m just going to keep playing my game, prepare the way I have and play the way I play. I can’t start thinking they’re going to go glove every time, because if they end up switching it up, then I’m in trouble.”
Crawford is correct in saying he can’t assume shots will be heading to his left side, but continuing to stick with the way he plays is a recipe for disaster for Chicago as the series now becomes a best-of-three affair.