It’s getting harder and harder to find the words to describe what the Blackhawks are doing.
Led by Corey Crawford’s four-star goaltending, the Hawks ran their record point streak to start the season to 22 games on Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Red Wings in a shootout.
Patrick Kane tied the game 1-1 on a power play with 2:02 to play in regulation then scored the only goal in the shootout.
“Just amazing what’s going on,” Kane said.
Crawford, who made 32 saves, stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Damien Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg in the shootout in what might have been his best performance of the season.
Crawford, now 10-0-3, showed no signs of the mysterious upper body injury that forced him out of Thursday’s game at St. Louis after the first period. His 1.41 goals-against average is first in the NHL while his .945 save percentage is second.
“He had several big saves, particularly right after they scored to go up one,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He kept us in there to make it 1-goal game and gave us a chance.”
The Hawks have at least a point in 28 straight games, dating to a March 25, 2012 loss in regulation to Nashville, to tie the second-longest streak in league history. They’ve matched Montreal’s multi-season points run from the 1977-78 season and trail only Philadelphia’s streak of 35 straight games with at least a point during the 1979-80 season.
“It’s impressive,” Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “They’re finding different ways to do it every single night.”
Kane’s tying goal came after Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson drew a penalty for delay of game late in the third period when he flipped the puck into the stands.
Kane scored his 11th goal moments later with a nice assist from Viktor Stalberg. Patrick Sharp’s shot from the deep slot was blocked by defenseman Kyle Quincey, but Stalberg kept the play alive by poking the puck to Kane on the right side.
Kane beat Howard to the short side.
“We keep finding a way to keep ourselves in the game or win it at the end,” Kane said. “We’ve talked about the resiliency of this team the past couple week and past month. Three minutes left and we get a lucky bounce when they shoot it out there and we get a power play.”
“He knew the importance of it to get us to overtime,” Quenneville said.
The Red Wings took another delay of game with 1:23 to play when Niklas Kronwall was cited, but the Hawks couldn’t score.
Kane stole the show in the shootout, slowly skating toward Howard and lifting his right skate off the ice twice before flipping a wrist shot past him.
“He’s got great skill,” Howard said.
“I knew I was just going to slow down and see what he was going to give me,” Kane said. “I was going to slow down earlier just to see if I had a different look. I thought he backed up pretty far so I just tried to fire it low blocker and it worked out.
“A lot of guys want to be the guy to tie it up or win it. It seems to be a different guy every night. It’s been a blast.”
On Detroit’s third attempt in the shootout, Zetterberg couldn’t extend the game.
“I don’t think we were close to perfect and we almost beat them anyway,” Zetterberg said.
The Red Wings had chances to win in regulation, and in overtime, but Crawford was effective in his return to the net. He turned away Johan Franzen’s shot with 1:40 left in overtime.
Detroit made it 1-0 early in the third period when Patrick Eaves beat Nick Leddy to a puck behind the net and got it to Joakim Andersson, whose pass set up Tomas Tatar perfectly on the side of the net to beat Crawford.
A bit later, Crawford made a spectacular glove save to deny Datsyuk’s chance that could’ve given the Red Wings a 2-goal lead — and perhaps the win in regulation.
Ÿ Follow Tim’s hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.