It’s halfway through the season and the Blackhawks still don’t have a loss in regulation.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Halfway through the season and the Hawks are 21-0-3.
Not even coach Joel Quenneville would have believed this could happen if someone had told him before the season it was possible.
“Nobody in their right mind,” Quenneville said.
“I think you want to be objective and optimistic when you start the season,” Quenneville said. “When I say start, your start is usually five or 10 games and it has gone on here now. It’s been a lot of fun and we’re very pleased, shocked, surprised, you can use a different term.”
The Hawks have won a franchise record 11 games in a row, own the NHL record for best start at 24 games without a loss in regulation, and are within five games now of Philadelphia’s league mark of 35 games with at least a point.
They are 13-0-3 in 1-goal games, the latest being Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Colorado on Daniel Carcillo’s goal with 50 seconds to play.
“I’d say No. 1, it’s really exciting for our fans,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “It gives them something to be really pumped about. We’re staying very realistic in this locker room. If we don’t keep working and doing the right things, we’re not going to have the same success. We’ve said all along our No. 1 priority is to build ourselves as a team to be the best we can later on and in the postseason.
“We’re taking it one game at a time, but it’s definitely fun to come to the rink and be in the locker room with these guys.”
The win on Wednesday was the fourth time the Hawks had to rally in the third period to get at least 1 point.
“We never go away, we never give up, we keep coming at them, whether we have guys injured and basically playing three lines (like Wednesday),” Toews said. “We keep coming at them.”
When Toews looks at 21-0-3, he has a hard time fathoming how the Hawks got here.
“You want to go out there and win every game, you want to give yourself a chance,” Toews said. “Most of the time it’s not realistic to think you’re going to win every night, but we’re playing great. There’s no special equation, no magic going on, it’s just work ethic. It’s the depth of our team kicking in. We’re working for every little chance we get and every little piece of offense. It’s all those little details that we’re really playing a complete game.
“Obviously you’re not going to go out flying and dominate every period, but even in those moments where maybe we’re back on our heels, we’re playing smart and making it tough for other teams to create offense in our zone.”
Trailing 2-1 going into the third period against the Avs, the Hawks felt calm on the dressing room during the second intermission.
“We’ve been in that position many times this year and we didn’t feel any pressure,” Toews said. “What we’ve been through lately really gives us that confidence that we can go into the third period, down a goal, and we have a great feeling that somehow, some way, we’re going to find a way.”
“There’s no special handshake we do in the room here, no rah-rah-rah, or anything like that,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “It’s hockey. It’s just playing the right way, everybody worried about doing their role and doing their job.”
It has been seemingly a different hero every night for the Hawks. On Wednesday, it happened to be Carcillo.
“That’s been a big key to our success, having different guys step up,” Keith said. “We’re rolling all four lines, all six D and both goaltenders.”
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