Hawks win in shootout, tie NHL record with 16-game point streak to start season
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 19, 2013 11:10PM
Chicago Blackhawks Brandon Saad (20) drives forward past Vancouver Canucks Jannik Hansen (36) during the first period at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:47AM
Marian Hossa helped the Blackhawks make history — the good kind.
Then history — the bad kind — repeated itself.
Hossa broke out of his scoring slump with two goals, and the Hawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday to match the all-time NHL record by earning a point for the 16th consecutive game to open the season. The
Canucks scored twice in the last three minutes of regulation to send the game to overtime, but Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw scored in the shootout to give the Hawks
But the big night was tempered by the sight of Hossa prone on the ice after taking a forearm to the back of the head from the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen while trying to grab a puck out of the air early in the third period. After a minute or so, Hossa was helped up and helped off the ice to the dressing room. He didn’t return, but he didn’t leave the building, either.
Hansen is the same player who slashed Dave Bolland’s ankle this season in Vancouver, causing Bolland to miss a game.
‘‘I saw him after the game, [and] he seemed OK,’’ coach Joel Quenne-
ville said of Hossa. ‘‘But we’ll know more [Wednesday].’’
The play conjured up the image of Hossa on the ice after taking an elbow from the Phoenix Coyotes’ Raffi Torres during the playoffs last season. Hossa suffered a concussion on that hit and wasn’t cleared until mid-November.
‘‘That’s ugly and very unfortunate,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘You never want to see that. Don’t know the situation yet, but we hope that it’s just a minor scare for now and that he’ll be back soon.’’
The league surely will look at the hit. Torres was given a 25-game suspension for his hit on Hossa.
‘‘I think everybody saw it; everybody can have their own opinion,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘I’ll let the people that do that stuff do their job.’’
The hit spoiled a huge game for Hossa, who hadn’t scored in his last six games and had scored only once in his last 11. He finally broke through with two goals 31/2 minutes apart during a three-goal
second period for the Hawks (Patrick Sharp had the other).
‘‘He was having a great game,’’ Quenneville said.
The superb second period followed a frustrating first. The Hawks had three breakaways but no goals. The Canucks’ Daniel Sedin had two breakaways of his own stopped by Hawks goalie Ray Emery (29 saves, 6-0-0), but his soft, sharp-angled backhand squeaked through
Emery’s pads for a 1-0 Canucks lead at the first intermission.
The Hawks turned it on in the second, then turned it off in the third, allowing goals by Alexander Edler (power play) and Kevin Bieksa (with Schneider pulled) in the
final three minutes. It was the second consecutive game the Hawks struggled to hold a third-period lead.
‘‘We’ve got to find a way to tighten things up late in games, whether it’s being more disciplined, staying out of the box, whatever it may be,’’ Sharp said.
The game had all the usual
intensity of a Canucks-Hawks game. Brandon Bollig fought Dale Weise early in the first period. Toews was sent face-first into the crossbar by Keith Ballard. Then came Hansen’s hit on Hossa, the latest big — and questionable — hit in this rivalry.
But even with the late collapse and the injury to Hossa, the Hawks etched their names in the record books. The Anaheim Ducks were
12-0-4 in 2006-07, but the Hawks have done them one better at 13-0-3, with 29 of a possible 32 points.
Amazingly, the season is a third complete, and the Hawks have yet to lose in regulation.
‘‘It’s a remarkable start,’’ Quenne-
ville said. ‘‘We’re very happy and pleased. Guys should be proud of the achievement and where they’re at. Especially in a 48-game season, it puts us in a real good spot.’’