Battling tough teams, the Chicago Blackhawks have pulled through and shown their strength by having the best start in franchise history: 6-0-0. As of Jan. 30, 2013 the Chicago Blackhawks have one of the best starts in NHL history, and although they have a rough road ahead of them, the rest of the Hawks’ season looks very promising.
With attendance and ratings off the charts, it is no surprise that the Hawks have a large following on the road. The Hawks challenged the LA Kings on Jan. 19 and won with a score of 5-2. They made hockey look easy as they scored three of their goals in the first period. Marian Hossa, in the first game he has played since his concussion in late April last season, had two goals and one assist.
Next the Chicago Blackhawks battled the dreaded Phoenix Coyotes. These teams hadn’t seen each other since the first round of the playoffs last season, and tensions were high. Hossa had two goals that helped Chicago keep their lead against the Coyotes. After the game Hossa said, “I can’t expect two goals every night, but it’s nice to have a good start.” A good start indeed, and a trend that will hopefully continue into the rest of the season. Although the Hawks let a 5-2 lead slip away in the middle of the third period, they managed to stay ahead by one and finished for a final score of 6-4.
In the Chicago Blackhawks home opener two days later, they faced the St. Louis Blues. The Blues, coming off two wins themselves, were looking to stay undefeated and gave the Hawks a good run. Unfortunately for the Blues, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Viktor Stalberg each had a goal for the Hawks to start off with a 3-0 lead. St. Louis fought back with two goals in the third, but Hawks goalie Corey Crawford held them off with 32 saves for a final score of 3-2.
With attendance at a high of about 21,500 fans, the Hawks were proud to continue their undefeated season.
Marian Hossa was again the star of the game as he was able to score in overtime against the Dallas Stars. Hossa’s goal edged the Hawks for a 3-2 final on Jan. 24 At the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Patrick Sharp and Jonathon Toews each had a goal that contributed to the victory. Without the team’s assists, they would not have been able to win. They are playing like the 2009-2010 season when they came together to win the Stanley Cup.
Patrick Kane said in an interview that it is still too early for playoff talk, so the Hawks continued on the road and headed to Columbus next. The Blue Jackets were coming off a couple of losses and were looking to make a comeback. Jonathon Toews pulled through in the third period once again for the game winning goal against the Blue Jackets, and Corey Crawford had 24 saves to help the Hawks maintain their lead.
Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville said, “Finding ways to win is important. You’re not going to be great every night or your best every night. Columbus played a hard-working game, working harder than us tonight. But we got key saves from (Crawford) tonight and that helped us.” The Blackhawks matched franchise history with a 5-0-0 record.
Could the 2012-2013 Chicago Blackhawks make history? That was the question fans, experts and players were asking Sunday, Jan. 27 Playing against the rival Detroit Redwings would make the win extra sweet. Regulation ended in a tie, and overtime began. Two minutes and forty-five seconds in, Nick Leddy scored his first career goal in overtime. Crawford had another huge game with 29 saves between the pipes.
As far as who deserves credit for the history marker, Quenneville praises everyone, “I think everybody deserves credit. Everybody’s contributing. Everybody was where we wanted them to be. Everybody had good conditioning to start with. Special teams, Crow (Crawford) in net, the team game. I’m pleased.”
The next six games are on the road. It will be a test of the Hawks adrenaline as well as skills, especially having some games back to back. Regardless of how they do, when the Hawks return to Chicago on Tuesday Feb. 12 they will have a packed Madhouse on Madison waiting to welcome them. With the shortened season, the number of ticket sales are on the rise and with the Hawks making history, there is no doubt that everyone will be watching.