Blackhawks Look to Match Points Record
When the Chicago Blackhawks take the ice tonight at the United Center against the Vancouver Canucks they will do so with their usual goals of padding their Central Division lead and winning one for the home fans, but also full-well knowing that they have a chance to tie the record for consecutive points to start an NHL season. Though players and coaches alike will always downplay records, in this shortened NHL season, this may be one of some consequence.
With the NHL schedule shortened from 82 to 48 games we strangely find ourselves with one-third of the season just about in the books. The phrase "every game counts" has never been more applicable. And while a majority of teams still aren't quite sure whether they are contenders or pretenders, some, such as Anaheim, Pittsburgh, and Boston, to name a few, find themselves at or above 20 points and already jockeying for post-season position. Chicago leads all of these teams with 27 points, going an impressive 12-0, with their only three losses coming in overtime. Tonight they officially hit the one-third point on their schedule with a chance to make history against a very tough Canucks squad, themselves in first place in the Western Conference's Northwest Division.
While tying the Anaheim Ducks 2006-07 mark of most consecutive games with a point to start a season might not mean all that much to Blackhawks players such as team captain Jonathan Toews, who's saying all the right things to deflect attention from the mark, a win or even a point tonight would solidify the Hawks as NHL alpha dog. In a normal hockey season, it's not how you start, but how you finish and, of course, who gets hot goaltending in the playoffs, but this is not a normal year. You get the sense that this could be one of those years when the team that starts hot stays hot and goes wire-to-wire. Speaking of which, the team whose record the Hawks hope to equal tonight, went on to win the Stanley Cup. Happy streaking, Chicago!