That was quick, huh?
And fun, to boot.
The Blackhawks began an abbreviated season with a bang, putting together a record streak of 24 straight games without a loss in regulation. And they ended it by going 36-7-5 and capturing the Presidents’ Trophy.
In between it was all about Toews, Kane, Hossa, Crawford, Emery and just about any player on the roster leading the way in a simply amazing regular season.
But before the second season begins, let’s take a quick look at some of the key games along the way.
Jan. 19 Blackhawks 5, Kings 2
Marian Hossa didn’t waste any time showing the rest of the NHL that he was fully recovered from the concussion he suffered last April in the playoffs, scoring 2 goals and adding an assist as the Blackhawks crashed the Los Angeles Kings’ never-ending Stanley Cup banner-raising party at Staples Center.
“It’s huge for him to start with 2 goals,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said of Hossa.
Jan. 20 Blackhawks 6, Coyotes 4
Marian Hossa remained hot by adding another 2 goals to lead the Blackhawks past the Phoenix Coyotes in the first meeting between the two teams since the first round of the playoffs last April. But it wasn’t all good news. In his first game back in about a year, Daniel Carcillo limped off the ice with a knee injury.
“It’s unfortunate that he finally gets back and had 10 great minutes. I thought he looked very good on that (top) line,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Carcillo.
Jan 30 Wild 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO)
You knew the Blackhawks weren’t going to go 48-0.
Their franchise record six-game winning streak to start the season came to an end, but at least they left the Xcel Energy Center with a point. Zach Parise and Matt Cullen beat Corey Crawford in the shootout, while Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp failed after Jonathan Toews opened with a goal.
“We were this close again and had a great chance to win in overtime and even the shootout and just came up a bit short,” Toews said.
Feb 22 Hawks 2, Sharks 1
Brandon Saad’s third-period goal made it 17 games without a regulation loss for the Hawks — setting the NHL record for the best start to a season. The Hawks (14-0-3) broke a mark set by the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks, who earned points in their first 16 games.
“It’s nice to get another win and make history,” Saad said. “Our group’s had a great year so far, so we never expect anything less.”
March 8 Avalanche 6, Hawks 2
If you’re going to end a streak, you might as well do it in a big way, and that’s just what the Hawks did in Colorado as their 24-game streak ended with a thud. The Avalanche at one point scored five straight goals, including 4 in the second period, to end the misery early.
“They found different ways to win, night in and night out, and everyone contributed to something that hadn’t been done,” Joel Quenneville said of his club. “Certainly it was a lot of fun ... up until today.”
April 7 Hawks 5, Predators 3
With the way they started the season, it was simply a foregone conclusion the Hawks would make the playoffs, and with their second win over Nashville in two days they did just that — becoming the first team to clinch a postseason berth.
Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored 55 seconds apart midway through the third period to seal the deal.
“We obviously wanted to stay in the spot we’re in the standings,” Toews said, “but first and foremost, our No. 1 goal coming in every season is we want to make the playoffs.”
April 24 Blackhawks 4, Oilers 1
Courtesy of their win in Edmonton, the Hawks (35-6-5) held off the Penguins for the top regular-season record in the NHL to capture the Presidents’ Trophy. It was the first time the Hawks earned that hardware since 1991.
“The start of our year really put us in a great spot, but the consistency has been there, as well,” Quenneville said. “I congratulate the guys, they deserve what they got.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.