The chants began hesitantly in the 300 level and by the time they made their way around the United Center and down to the ice were at full force.

"Corey, Corey, Corey."

Standing in the crease, breathing hard and pouring sweat after a flurry of big saves against the Wild during Game 5 of the Blackhawks' first-round playoff series Thursday night, the man who inspired the hometown faithful to chant his name was tuned in.

"It was pretty cool to hear that," goaltender Corey Crawford said following Saturday's practice. "It's always nice when your fans are behind you."

Crawford wasn't the only one listening, with teammate Patrick Kane saying after the series-clinching victory, "That's something we haven't really heard before."

Crawford has had a bit of a love-hate relationship with some Hawks fans — especially the ones who had difficulty forgetting and forgiving two soft goals in consecutive overtime games against the Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs a year ago. Crawford gave up only 57 goals in 30 games this season for a sparkling 1.94 goals-against average, but each one seemed to be followed with a chorus of boos.

"The majority of the people were supporting me and behind me," Crawford, 28, said. "Just the odd time fans would get on me like they would on our team sometimes.

"That's professional sports. The fans want to see you at your best. They definitely hold us accountable at times here. We love our fans. They're great to us. They expect the best out of us and that's a good thing."

One thing Crawford — and backup Ray Emery — have also had was the support of their teammates in good times and bad.

"When a team gets knocked out or loses, there's always fingers pointed at somebody," veteran Patrick Sharp said. " 'Crow' has been solid for us since he joined the team. It was a little unfair some of the criticism he got, but he's been great all season long for us. One of the most underrated goalies in the league in my opinion."

The detractors are few and far between these days, as Crawford was arguably the Hawks' most valuable player during the first round and is the most important as the postseason moves forward. Crawford's success can be attributed to not only being technically sound but also never losing confidence throughout the ebbs and flows of the season — and his career.