Shootouts Mean Crawford and Price Share Jennings
The end of the regular season came Saturday night and with it came the announcement that Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens will share the William Jennings Trophy for 2014-15.
The Jennings Trophy is awarded to the goaltender(s) who played at least twenty-five games for the team with the lowest total goals allowed for the regular season.
This season both the Blackhawks and the Canadiens ended with 189 goals against, so they will share the award.
The sharing of the award is bound to be at least somewhat controversial because the NHL counts shootout losses as a goal against for this award. Chicago had three shootout losses and Montreal had five. Without those shootout goals added in, the award would have gone to Price alone.
It seems odd that the NHL discounts shootout results for purposes of playoff seeding (the first tiebreaker is ROW, or regulation and overtime wins), but not when it comes to handing out prestigious season-ending hardware to its goalies. Nonetheless, both goaltenders are coming off good seasons.
Crawford has been quietly good this year. In 57 games, he posted a .931 save percentage at even strength and a .924 overall. His creasemates Antti Raanta and Scott Darling have also done their part to keep Chicago’s goals against down. In December, the Chicago goalies were all in the top 10 in Goals Saved Above Average, the only team to have more than one goalie rank that high. This will be Crawford’s second time winning the Jennings Trophy in the past three seasons.
Price, on the other hand, has had one of the best seasons in modern goaltending history. In 66 games, he has a .942 at even strength and a .933 overall. He is the clear frontrunner for the Vezina Award and is certain to get consideration for the Hart Trophy as well. This is his first time winning the Jennings. (InGoal recently had an interesting feature on Price’s unique setup.)
The last time the award went to goaltenders on two different teams was in 2002-03 when it was shared by New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) and Philadelphia (Roman Cechmanek and Robert Esche).