For the second time in a row, the San Jose Sharks started off with a first period lead while keeping the Chicago Blackhawks off the scoreboard. But once again, Chicago came out on top in the end, sweeping the three-game series and making history while doing it.
During what was their third meeting in less than 20 days, San Jose took the lead late in the first period with a goal by forward Patrick Marleau, and the period ended with the Sharks up 1-0. With Chicago focusing on trying to set an NHL record for the best start in the NHL and San Jose trying to avoid being swept, it was a clean first period with no penalties, plenty of nice passes and a total 19 shots between the two teams.
Then the second period started to turn in Chicago’s favor, starting with a goal by the Blackhawks’ Viktor Stalberg with only four minutes left. With four penalties committed between the two teams, the intensity was starting to build to a crescendo.
Not surprisingly, the third period showed exactly why a match-up between these two teams shouldn’t be missed. There were a combined 16 hits and 32 shots alone in the third period, and the action was end-to-end.
After a tripping call to the Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook early in the third the Sharks had a chance to turn around their 0-2 unsuccessful power play and regain the lead. Not only did the Sharks fail to score, but they allowed 20-year-old forward Brandon Saad to score a short-handed goal that put the ‘Hawks on top and ended the scoring for the day.
With their 2-1 victory, the ‘Hawks made history. At 14-0-3, they have the NHL record for the most consecutive games earning a point (either for overtime loss or a win) to start a season.
Now, with games coming up against Columbus and Edmonton, the ‘Hawks are looking to continue their four-game winning streak and chase two more records. The first record they will be chasing is for most consecutive victories; the current record is at 17 consecutive victories by the Pittsburgh Penguins. They could also build on their new record to chase after the NHL’s longest streak with at least one point (no regulation losses). Back in 1979-80, the Philadelphia Flyers earned a point in a jaw-dropping 35 consecutive games.
The Blackhawks are off to a great start due in no small part to captain Jonathan Toews’s ability to control his team, keep their heads level by not getting too cocky, and play each game at a time. Meanwhile, right wing Patrick Kane leads the team with 9 goals and 23 points (fourth-most in the NHL). Kane is two points behind first place Penguins Sidney Crosby and Sabres Thomas Vanek, both of whom are tied with 25 points apiece.
The Blackhawks next game will be at home, when the last place Columbus Blue Jackets come to town to take on the new record-holders.