CHICAGO – Corey Crawford sat idle the last four games while fellow goalie Ray Emery had all the fun during the Blackhawks’ record-setting run to start the season.
Sidelined with an upper-body injury, Crawford bided his time until he regained the net. When he did Sunday night at the United Center, he discovered things were pretty much the same as when he left: The Hawks are rolling.
“It seems like things haven’t changed,” Crawford said after backstopping the Hawks to a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jackets. “Everyone’s playing hard and making the right plays, not turning pucks over and guys are coming back to help out our ‘D.’ It’s just another solid victory for us.”
It was the Hawks’ fifth consecutive victory and extended their NHL record of games to start a season without a regulation defeat to 18. The Hawks took over third place in the NHL history with their 24th straight game, dating to last season, with at least one point and, at 15-0-3, have accumulated 33 of a possible 36 points this season.
Crawford made 28 saves to record his second shutout of the season and seventh of his career.
“I was seeing the puck well,” Crawford said. “Everyone’s doing their job [and] everyone’s chipping in so it makes it a lot easier for me.”
The Hawks clawed their way to a win on what was not their finest offensive night, managing a goal by Andrew Shaw late in the second period against the team with the fewest points in the league.
Shaw scored off a terrific pass from Bryan Bickell, who dug the puck out from the end boards and flipped a blind backhand pass to Shaw. The forward fired a one-timer past Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason to the stick side.
“Johnny [Oduya] cycled it down to Bickell, and [he] heard me yelling and made just a great area pass,” Shaw said.
Mason suffered the tough-luck loss, stopping all but one of the 27 shots the Hawks sent his way.
“They have guys that are superstars in this league and they are playing like it,” Mason said.
Star of the game: Corey Crawford, Blackhawks, 28 saves, 2nd shutout in 2 weeks
Key performers: Andrew Shaw, Blackhawks, goal; Steve Mason, Blue Jackets, 26 saves on 27 shots
Up next: Oilers at Blackhawks, 7:30 tonight, CSN/720 AM