Now that the Blackhawks have the NHL record for most points in consecutive games to start a season, what do they do for an encore?
To borrow from White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson: “Don’t stop now, boys.”
The Hawks will try to stretch their record to 18 games Sunday night against Columbus at the United Center.
“That’s the goal we have in here (winning the Stanley Cup), there’s no question about that,” Hawks winger Viktor Stalberg said. “The first goal of the year is making the playoffs and then we have to try and get that Cup back to Chicago.
“I think we have a good team. We have to be better if we want to win it, but it’s certainly been a great start this season and we’re looking forward to keep going at it here.”
The Hawks have set the bar extremely high as far as expectations go, where in the eyes of many only a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals will make this a successful season.
“I don’t think the team feels like that,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. I know that’s a boring cliché, but it’s actually how it is. It’s fun to break a record and be in the history books, but the biggest thing is 2 points.
“As long as we can get ourselves points in the games here we’re going to set ourselves up for playoffs. I don’t think we’re in the playoffs yet. We’ve got to keep winning games and keep playing like we are and keep believing in ourselves.”
Defenseman Duncan Keith thinks there should be lofty expectations on the Hawks every year, especially after winning the Cup in 2010.
“We’ve got the talent in the room where I believe our chances are as good as anybody,” Keith said. “But there are a lot of good teams and a lot of good talent. It’s early on in the season and we can’t get carried away here.”
The Hawks haven’t made a big deal of the streak and they mean what they say.
“I’m impressed with all the guys because we have a great attitude about it,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s been a good stretch here, but we know we can’t be satisfied just because we broke a record.”
The streak certainly means something to the fans. They nearly blew the roof off the UC late in Friday’s 2-1 win over San Jose with their cheers.
“It was louder than normal,” Hjalmarsson said. “It’s always fun to give something back to the crowd here. It’s such a great crowd, always so loud, always supporting us.”
The fact that the Hawks broke a record as a team means something special to coach Joel Quenneville.
“I think you could see down the stretch there (Friday), Kaner (Patrick Kane) is throwing hits in the offensive zone, we’re doing things that lead to team camaraderie and team success,” Quenneville said. “We’re on the bench saying the right things, playing the score and the clock.
“I think you get more satisfaction getting accolades what you do as a team, contributing in a meaningful way. I think that feels better.”
Added goalie Ray Emery, who is 7-0 and playing some of the best hockey of his career: “This is a great squad. To be any part of this team is a good opportunity.”
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