Goalie Corey Crawford returns as Blackhawks await Oilers

CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Crawford has rejoined the Chicago Blackhawks, giving the team a boost in its preparation for its qualifying series against the Edmonton Oilers.

The veteran goaltender skated Saturday and faced shots from teammates. The Blackhawks travel to Edmonton on Sunday, and Game 1 of their best-of-five series against the Oilers is Aug. 1.

Crawford had been absent since the Blackhawks started training camp in the NHL’s return after the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Coach Jeremy Colliton stuck closely to the league’s approved language for discussing missing players while Crawford was out, declaring his top goaltender was “unfit to play.”

The return of the 35-year-old Crawford is a big development for Chicago as it prepares for Edmonton and its high-scoring duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. But he has little time to get up to speed before the qualifying round begins.

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Crawford missed parts of the previous two seasons because of concussions. But he had been playing well when the league was shut down, recording a .930 save percentage in his last 17 games.

Crawford was in net when Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015. He is 48-37 with a .919 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average in 87 career playoff appearances.

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