All season the Blackhawks have downplayed the fact they haven’t lost a game in regulation.
Now that they can set the NHL record on Friday night against San Jose with a 17th straight game to start the season with at least 1 point, the Hawks figure what the heck, let’s go for it.
“To be honest with you, game 15 it didn’t seem like many guys were talking about it, but before last game a lot of us were sitting in the locker room and you start thinking about it a little bit,” winger Patrick Kane said.
“We tied the record, and now I think a lot of guys want to do it. It’s there for the taking so we might as well. But it’s not like it accomplishes anything. It’s just kind of a cool stat to say that you did.”
Of the three teams that started the season without a regulation loss in at least 14 games, all of them have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. That would be the 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens (14), the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (15) and the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks (16).
“We’ve been reminded of that before,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That’s a long way away.”
The Hawks have nobody to blame but themselves for those kinds of lofty expectations with this start.
“We’re worried about the next game,” goalie Corey Crawford said. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. That’s the way it has been all year. We’re not even sure who we play next. That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way we’ve got to continue to approach it.”
The Hawks are 13-0-3 and have won three games in a row. But despite their torrid start they are only 4 points ahead of Anaheim.
“We’re not even really downplaying it,” winger Patrick Sharp said. “It’s just not really an issue in here. It’s pretty cool to be that close to an NHL record and we might talk about it (Friday) before the game, but we’re just more focused on playing good.
“We’ve got a team that’s been around the block a few times. We know that if you take your foot off the gas at any point in the season people will catch up to you, so we just want to keep on playing well.”
The Hawks could have a full lineup on the ice for Friday’s game against the Sharks.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook will return for certain after missing Tuesday’s game against Vancouver.
Marian Hossa, who was knocked out of Tuesday’s game by Jannik Hansen’s elbow to the head, practiced Thursday and could play Friday if he passes more tests in the morning.
Crawford has even been cleared to return after sitting the last three games with a suspected concussion, though Ray Emery will start again, Quenneville said.
“It’s good to have a few guys back out there,” Sharp said. “I know for Crow and Seabs, it was killing them to miss a few days. And I think we were all happy to see Hoss back out there flying around like he always does. He looked good in practice, that’s for sure.”
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