Wild hopes to end Blackhawks' near-record streak

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 5, 2013 - 8:03 AM

Brimming with confidence, Minnesota heads to Chicago to try to end the Blackhawks’ points streak, an NHL history-maker.

hide

Wild players began the celebration after Charlie Coyle, left, beat Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk for a goal.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Maybe Mike Yeo was still a little giddy after his team’s victory over Edmonton on Sunday, a wire-to-wire performance he considered one of the best of the season.

Because when the Wild coach was asked about Tuesday’s game in Chicago, against the streaking Blackhawks, he smiled. “I love it,” he said. “Excited about it, for sure. It’s going to be a good one.”

Chicago’s run is already historic. The Blackhawks have won nine straight games — including Sunday’s come-from-behind shootout win over Detroit — and are 19-0-3 this season, a points streak that is the NHL’s best-ever start to a season. Take it back to the end of the 2011-12 season and the Hawks have earned at least a point in 28 straight games, tied with the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens for the second-longest streak in league history, seven fewer than the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers.

Chicago’s record includes three shootout losses, the first coming to the Wild on Jan. 30. Now the Wild get a crack at ending another Blackhawks streak.

“It’s a big challenge, we all recognize that,” Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. “But at the same time we have to look at it as a great opportunity for us. We have to be ready. It’s not by accident where they are.”

The latest installment of the streak — Sunday’s victory — is emblematic of Chicago’s season. Down 1-0 in Detroit, Patrick Kane tied the game with 2:02 left in regulation with a power-play goal; then he provided the game-winner in the shootout with a dazzling move.

“It’s amazing,” Kane told the Chicago Tribune. “It seems like we just keep finding ways to either keep ourselves in the game or find a way to win it at the end.”

The streak has not come out of nowhere. Chicago has much of the talented core of players that brought home the Stanley Cup in 2010. And Chicago was the first NHL team to reach 50 points last season.

Still, the team has taken it to a new level this year, for a number of reasons:

• Depth. Familiar names like Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp are still atop the team’s scoring stats. But coach Joe Quenneville can go four lines deep, thanks to improvements by players like center Marcus Kruger and wingers Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw.

• Defense. The Blackhawks have a group of defenders — led by Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Minnesota native Nick Leddy — that is both sound in the defensive end and good at getting the offense started. Detroit coach Mike Babcock called it the best group in the NHL. The Blackhawks are fourth in the league in scoring (3.04) and first in goals against (1.73).

• Goaltending. Corey Crawford rebounded from a disappointing 2012 playoffs to up his game. He has a league-best 1.41 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage.

• Poise. Chicago is 12-0-3 this season in one-goal games.

In other words, Chicago is a good measuring stick for a Wild team that has played well of late. Minnesota enters the game having gone 8-2-1 in its last 11 games.

“They are playing good hockey, but so are we right now,” Koivu said. “It’s a great challenge.” Especially considering the game will be in Chicago, where the Blackhawks are 9-0-1.

“You know what? We just have to play our game,” Yeo said. “And we’re a darn good team, too. So we’ll look at Chicago; we know what they’re capable of. We’ll make sure our players are aware of what they do. But we go into that game with the understanding that we’re a good team. If we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be good.



 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close