Crawford or Emery for the playoffs?

2012-2-29-Crawford-and-EmeryIt is getting to that point in the season now where people are starting to wonder who will be starting in goal for the Blackhawks come playoff time. Unlike most teams, the Blackhawks have two goalies who could start in net during the playoffs: Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. Both have comparable statistics this season, but only one can be named the starter.

Corey Crawford is 15-4-4 on the season, while Emery is 13-1-0. Emery ranks fourth in the NHL in lowest goals against average, and Crawford is fifth. In terms of save percentage, Ray Emery is tenth in the league while Crawford is eleventh. Other than their records, these two goalies are very similar in terms of their statistics.

Lately, Crawford has been in a bit of a rut. He has allowed 14 goals in his last 5 games 215px-Coreycrawfordplayed and has gone 2-2-1 over that stretch. While he started off the season playing with a ton of confidence (which showed in his play), he seems to have lost some of that confidence over the last few weeks or so. A good example of that came against the Predators last Monday night when Crawford let in two goals in a row that should have never ended up in the back of the net. It reminded me a lot of the bad goals he allowed in overtime of last year’s playoffs against the Coyotes.

I think that my main point here is that Crawford, while he can have some very good stretches of play, is too weak mentally. If he is named the starting goaltender for the playoffs, all it might take is one bad goal against or one loss to really mess with his confidence. Ray Emery on the other hand, is a little different.

When you look at Emery’s stats this year, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be the number one goalie for the playoffs. I mean heck, he’s only lost one game this year! His Ray+Emery+Closeupgoals against average is a mere 1.95, and his save percentage is .923. Those are very respectable numbers. Even though Corey Crawford does have playoff experience, and even though he did have a good series against Vancouver two years ago, Ray Emery not only has more experience, but he led the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007. Come playoff time, experience is huge.

Even though Emery did not win the Stanley Cup in 2007, he still got there as the starting goalie in Ottawa. That experience cannot be overrated. Having played on the highest stage in the NHL, Emery knows what it takes and what it is like to get to the Cup Finals.

After saying all of that about each goalie, if I were Joel Quenneville and the playoffs started tomorrow, Ray Emery would be my starting goaltender. There is still time remaining in the regular season for Crawford to prove that he deserves another chance at leading the Hawks through the postseason, but he is really going to have to step up his game physically and mentally to do so in my eyes.

I am very interested to see how this all plays out over the last few weeks of the season. Emery shut out the Predators yesterday and those two teams square off again in 2 hours. No announcement yet as to who will start in goal tonight for the Hawks, but if it is Emery, that might be a sign on things to come.

Stay tuned.

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3 thoughts on “Crawford or Emery for the playoffs?

  1. Ok first of all “Merkle”, how is a team a joke if they go to the Stanley Cup? I guess being able to play in the last NHL series of the season is no big deal and doesn’t mean anything about the team. So if you could please define what makes a Stanley Cup finalist a “joke” I’d appreciate it. Second, I am a Blackhawks fan so I like Corey Crawford and his talent, but if you really think he is the best goalie in the league, then you probably shouldn’t be the one accusing other people of sniffing glue because you must be doing WAY worse. Oh and also great point on Emery getting handed easy wins…that is about as valid as the amount of hockey knowledge it seems you have, and saying you have none at all could be an overstatement. I guess the rest of the Blackhawks team only decides to play well if Emery starts and not Crawford creating easy wins for Emery….well that is according to my very special and top notch source in you at least, Fred. Maybe you should take your talents elsewhere…perhaps mini golf you could handle? Stick to your day job. Or don’t. Just don’t do anything.

  2. 1-Emery’s Senators team was stellar from December on into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
    2-Emery and the Senators only lost 3 playoff games leading to the Cup Finals.
    3-Defence is a team game, and the Senators had 2 of the hottest defencemen in the league.
    4-Senator’s had 3, point-a-game players in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs.
    5-The Stanley Cup is the most heralded trophy in sports because of the seemingly insurmountable challenges a team must go through to win one. No one makes the Cup Finals unless they have earned the right to be there. It’s not like this blog, where you can just post because you like trolling.

  3. So what Emery took Senators to the playoffs. . .it was six years ago, and that team was a joke…just like your blog. I don’t know who would take their time to read this “sin bin.” Two goalies are very similar…yeah right. Crawford is the best goalie in hockey, on the best team, and for that reason alone he will start. Emery gets handed easy wins, on off days, so Crow can take a rest. Stick to your day job, sniffing glue.

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