9 Memorable Moments from the Blackhawks' Record-Setting Streak

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2013

9 Memorable Moments from the Blackhawks' Record-Setting Streak

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    The Chicago Blackhawks became the dominant story in sports in the first three months of the NHL season as they rolled through 24 games without suffering a regulation defeat.

    Chicago's play was shocking, considering that Joel Quenneville's team had been beaten in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. The Blackhawks looked like a playoff team at the start of the season, but there was no reason to believe they would become record-setters.

    Instead of feeling their way along, the Blackhawks began the season with something to prove. They proved it for 24 games before they finally tasted defeat for the first time when they dropped a 6-2 decision at Colorado Mar. 8.

    Here are nine of the more memorable moments from the first 24 games of the season in which they did not suffer a regulation defeat.

    They fell short of getting within hailing distance of the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers' record of 35 straight games (25-0-10) without a regulation defeat, but the Blackhawks' run took attention away from the lockout and put it squarely back on the game in a stellar fashion.

Star-Studded Start vs. Kings

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    The lockout-delayed season started Jan. 19 in Los Angeles when the Blackhawks took on the Stanley Cup banner-raising Kings.

    Los Angeles finally had a chance to be recognized back in their home uniforms by their fans and it was a party inside Staples Center. Until the game started.

    The single-minded Blackhawks didn't care about the Kings' celebration. All they wanted to do was put the puck in the net.

    Chicago opened the game with three first-period goals and dominated the Stanley Cup champions 5-2 in their home opener.

    Marian Hossa scored two goals in the game, while Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also lit the lamp.

Big Win in Big D

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    The Blackhawks went to Dallas Jan. 24 with a 3-0-0 record, but they quickly fell behind the veteran Stars 2-0.

    Dallas was getting out-shot by the Blackhawks, but Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was seemingly stopping everything thrown his way.

    Instead of getting frustrated by the Stars goalie, the Blackhawks turned it up a notch. Patrick Sharp scored in the second period and Jonathan Toews tied it in the third before Marian Hossa won it in overtime.

    It was a scintillating performance because the Blackhawks refused to be stopped by a hot goalie and found a way to overcome and earn the victory.

The Calgary Miracle

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    This game was the signature moment of the Blackhawks' season-opening streak.

    When the Blackhawks flew into Calgary for their Feb. 2 game with the Flames, they were a tired crew. They had lost their previous two games in shootouts, including a decision to the hated Vancouver Canucks the night before.

    The gas tank was empty as the Blackhawks took the ice against the Flames, and they were out-shot and out-skated throughout the game. When Jay Bouwmeester scored for the Flames with 35 seconds remaining, it appeared the Blackhawks would suffer a 2-1 defeat.

    However, on the ensuing faceoff, the Blackhawks gained possession of the puck and would maintain it until two seconds remained, when Marian Hossa jumped on a loose puck in the slot and popped it past Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to tie the game.

    Chicago goalie Ray Emery was spectacular for the Blackhawks. He had 45 saves in the game and added three more in the shootout. Patrick Kane scored the only shootout goal and the Blackhawks won again.

The Raffi Torres Game

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    The Blackhawks were rolling with an 8-0-2 record when they traveled to Phoenix for the second meeting of the season between the two teams in the desert.

    In this game, Phoenix goon Raffi Torres was making his return following his 21-game suspension after clocking Marian Hossa from behind in last year's playoff series.

    How the Hawks would react to the sight of the villainous Torres was the overriding story prior to the game.

    Jamal Mayers took on Torres at the 2:35 mark and gave him a beating, but after that, the Blackhawks were all business. They whipped the Coyotes 6-2 on their home ice and were not the least bit distracted at the sight of a player who had caused them so much pain.

Anaheim Comes Calling

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    While the Chicago Blackhawks got off to the best start of any NHL team, they were not the only team to get out of the gate impressively.

    In the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins have been special. However, there are no crossover regular-season games between Eastern and Western Conference foes this season.

    The Anaheim Ducks have been special and would probably be the top story of the year if the Hawks had not been so dominant. The Ducks came to the United Center Feb. 12 and played with a physical edge and toughness against the Blackhawks.

    The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Andrew Cogliano tied it for the Ducks in the final frame.

    While the Ducks would win the game in the shootout, the Blackhawks showed they could hang in there with one of the most physical teams in the league.

Revenge vs. the Canucks

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    The Blackhawks had lost in a shootout Feb. 1 in a trip to Vancouver against the Canucks.

    They were primed for revenge when the Blackhawks hosted the Canucks Feb. 19.

    The Blackhawks out-skated and outplayed the Canucks for the majority of the game, as they built a 3-1 lead after two periods on two goals by Marian Hossa and another by Patrick Sharp.

    The Blackhawks defense continued to frustrate the talented Canucks for the majority of the third period. However, Alexander Edler scored with less than three minutes to go and then Kevin Bieksa tied it up with 1:01 to go.

    The Blackhawks appeared ready to collapse, but they held on in the final 61 seconds and overtime. Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw beat Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider in the shootout and the Blackhawks had the 4-3 victory.

Domination in St. Louis

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    The Blackhawks were 16-0-3 when they arrived in St. Louis Feb. 28 for a confrontation with their long-time rivals.

    Many expected this was where the streak would end. The Blues had been one of the most improved teams in the league in 2011-12 and many expected them to challenge the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the Western Conference.

    While they were not playing as well in 2013, it seemed that head coach Ken Hitchcock would get his team primed to play its best game at home against the streaking Blackhawks.

    Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago 12 seconds into the game and the Blackhawks dominated for 60 minutes on the road in a 3-0 victory.

    Goalies Corey Crawford and Ray Emery combined on the shutout as the streak hit 20 games.

Last-Minute Heroics in Motown

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    The streak had reached ridiculous proportions when they visited Detroit Mar. 3 in front of a national television audience on NBC.

    The Red Wings seemed to have an advantage on the weary Hawks, who were playing their third game in four days.

    Detroit had the best of it through most of the game and had a 1-0 advantage in the late stages of the the third period. The lead would have been much bigger if Corey Crawford had not made several spectacular saves.

    With the Wings about to wrap up a shutout win, the Blackhawks took advantage of a late power play when Patrick Kane whipped a shot by Detroit's Jimmy Howard with 2:02 remaining in regulation.

    The streak advanced to 22 games at the end of regulation and then Kane won the game in the shootout with a spectacular double-leg kick move (see video above) to score the game-winner.

Carcillo's Last-Minute Winner

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    The Blackhawks reached the halfway point in the season in a home game vs. the speedy Colorado Avalanche Mar. 6.

    While the Blackhawks were clearly the best team in the Western Conference, they could not shake the pesky Avs. Colorado had a 2-1 lead after two periods and there were whispers around the United Center that the streak might finally be coming to an end.

    However, captain Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed goal early in the third period and the Blackhawks continued to press for the winner. They finally got it with 50 seconds to go when Daniel "Car Bomb" Carcillo scored his first goal of the season to give the Hawks the big win that stretched their record to 21-0-3.

    The unbeaten streak would finally come to an end two nights later in Colorado, but the Blackhawks served notice during their 24-game stretch that they are the team to beat in the NHL playoffs this year.