With a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks last night at the United Center, the Chicago Blackhawks extended their point streak to 17 games and set the all-time record for longest point streak to start a season. With the win, the Blackhawks surpassed the Anaheim Ducks, who started the 2006-07 season with points in 16 straight games. The Ducks would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season, something that the Blackhawks hope to accomplish as well.
The Blackhawks would find themselves trailing early in the game, when with 15 seconds left in the first period, the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau picked up a rebound off Joe Pavelski’s redirect of Joe Thornton’s original shot. Marleau, who was in the right place at the right time, barely snuck the puck past Blackhawks’ netminder Ray Emery to make it a 1-0 game.
Like they have done all season, the Blackhawks did not panic, but instead rallied from behind. Their first break came late in the second period, when Viktor Stalberg scored a soft goal off the Sharks’ netminder, former Blackhawk Antti Niemi, with a shot from behind the goal line. The goal was Stalberg’s fourth of the season, and tied the game at 1-1. Assists were credited to Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya. With the assist, Kane continued his own personal hot start to the season by notching his 23rd point in 17 games, which gives him the 4th highest point total in the NHL.
Headed into the third period with the game tied 1-1, 20-year-old Blackhawk Brandon Saad tallied his third career goal and broke the tie with a short-handed goal at 2:24 of the period. The 6’-1” 202 pound Saad powered his way around Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns before blazing a wrist shot past a frozen Niemi.
With the score 2-1 late in the third period, the Sharks pulled Niemi for the extra attacker but were unable to covert. The game would end with a score of 2-1.
The Blackhawks’ Ray Emery, who was making his fourth consecutive start, made 26 saves on 27 shots and improved his overall record to 7-0-0.
With the win, the Blackhawks improved their overall record to 14-0-3. To put things into perspective, this record currently stands as the best start to a season since the NHL’s founding in 1917.
The Blackhawks will attempt to extend their streak to 18 games when they face the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets (5-10-2) Sunday night at the United Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 CST.
-Last night’s game marked the return of Blackhawks' winger Daniel Carcillo who hadn’t played since suffering a lower body injury in the first game of the season on January 19th.
-The Blackhawks’ penalty kill continued its solid play, going 4-for-4 on the night.