Daniel Carcillo’s last-minute goal extends Blackhawks’ streak to 24
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com March 6, 2013 9:24PM
The Hawks celebrate with a group hug after winger Daniel Carcillo scored the winning goal with less than a minute left in the third period to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday March 6, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: March 12, 2013 2:18PM
Marian Hossa was out, a last-minute scratch with an upper-body injury. Michael Frolik was still out with an illness. Andrew Shaw missed the third period, taken out with a big hit late in the second period. And Patrick Sharp left the ice in agony with a serious injury after being sandwiched along the boards midway through the third period. Down the stretch in the third period on the second night of a back-to-back set, the Hawks were down to just nine forwards.
On top of that, the Blackhawks had spent most of the game being out-worked and out-hustled by the Colorado Avalanche.
Yet the Hawks still managed to keep the streak alive.
Daniel Carcillo backhanded in a rebound with 49.3 seconds left in the third period and the Hawks pulled off an improbable 3-2 victory Wednesday night. The win extended their NHL-record season-opening point streak to 24 games, and their franchise-record win streak to 11. They now have a point in 30 straight regular-season games dating back to last season, five off the NHL record.
With the season half over, the Hawks have yet to lose a game in regulation.
“We never go away, we never give up, we keep coming at them,” said captain Jonathan Toews, whose shorthanded goal at 2:19 of the third tied the game at 2-2. “Whether we have guys injured and only have basically three lines, we keep coming at them. … Heck of a game, heck of a finish, and another exciting win for our fans.”
But extending the record further — the Hawks fly to Denver on Thursday for Friday’s rematch — could be more difficult than ever.
Sharp will “miss some time,” according to Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, after being sandwiched along the boards by Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne with 11 minutes left in the game. Sharp left for the dressing room hunched over in pain, holding his left arm.
Shaw — who scored the first goal of the game on a first-period power play — took a hit to or near the head by Paul Stastny late in the second period and didn’t return. Quenneville said he’ll be re-evaluated on Thursday, but that it’s “not too bad.”
And Hossa, who came out for pregame warmups, was a last-minute scratch. Quenneville seemed to think he’d be fine to play Friday at Colorado. After sending Brandon Bollig to Rockford earlier in the day to make room for defenseman Steve Montador, Quenneville said he’s “got some guys” and said a roster move wasn’t necessarily imminent.
As for the game, the Hawks looked a bit off from the start, with neither the intensity of Sunday’s Detroit game, nor the emotion of Tuesday’s Hossa celebration game, nor the safe, smart play that has marked this unprecedented start to the season. But Shaw’s goal — a tip-in of a Seabrook shot after Seabrook drew a retaliatory penalty for dumping Colorado’s David Jones into the Avs bench — gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead midway through the first.
But Colorado’s John Mitchell tied it with 1:40 left in the first, and Matt Duchene made it 2-1 at 13:17 of the second. In the second, only Sharp showed much pep in his step, creating three great scoring chances and firing four shots.
The Hawks went into intermission trailing for just the fourth time all year. But there was no panic.
“The mood was very positive, very upbeat,” Toews said. “We kind of just checked ourselves and realized, hey, you know, let’s go out there and put the pressure on them. It’s our building, we’ve been in this situation many times this year. We didn’t feel any pressure. We just went out there and worked. We’re confident if we do that, things can go our way.”
And they did. With Michal Rozsival in the penalty box for hooking Matt Duchene on a breakaway attempt that ended in a nice Emery save, Toews scored a shorthanded goal just 2:19 into the third period to tie it at 2-2.
The intensity on both ends picked up from there, until Carcillo — who started on the top line with Hossa out — backhanded in a Viktor Stalberg rebound with 49.3 seconds left. It was Carcillo’s his first goal since Nov. 13, 2011. After dealing with a torn ACL that ended last season on Jan. 2, and another leg injury that cost him 15 games this season, Carcillo said it “was a long time coming.”
“Seems like forever,” he said. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders. I want to be more than just an enforcer on this team. Just to be able to step in with some key guys that went down and help the team any way I can in this particular situation, scoring the game-winner, that’s what we play for.”
Through injuries and adversity, nothing seems to change. It’s the next man in, the next game up.
“A lot of people might think we’re pulling that game out of you-know-where, but really, we’re working for it,” Toews said. “There’s no special equation or whatever, no magic. Just work ethic. It’s the depth of our team kicking in.”