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Hawks win again, reach midpoint of season without regulation loss

Die-hard Blackhawks fans Marcus Cheri Wright attend Chicago Blackhawks-Colorado Avalanche NHL game Wednesday March 6 2013 United Center. The couple's

Die-hard Blackhawks fans Marcus and Cheri Wright attend the Chicago Blackhawks-Colorado Avalanche NHL game Wednesday March 6, 2013 at the United Center. The couple's ultimate goal is to one day have season tickets for the Hawks. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 8, 2013 7:57AM



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 by a big hit late in the second. And Patrick Sharp left the ice in agony with a serious injury after being sandwiched along the boards midway through the third.

Down the stretch in the third
period on the second night of a back-to-back set, the Hawks —
already outworked and outhustled for much of the game — were down to nine forwards. But they still managed to keep their streak alive.

Daniel Carcillo backhanded in a rebound with 49.3 seconds left in regulation, and the Hawks pulled off an improbable 3-2 victory Wednesday at the United Center. The result extended their NHL-record season-opening points streak to 24 games (21-0-3) and their franchise-record winning streak to 11. Dating to last season, they have at least one point in 30 consecutive regular-season games, 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 short-handed goal at 2:19 of the third period tied the score 2-2. ‘‘Whether we have guys injured and only have basically three lines, we keep coming at them.’’

But extending the record further might be more difficult than ever. Sharp will ‘‘miss some time,” coach Joel Quenneville said, after being sandwiched along the boards by the Avalanche’s Ryan O’Byrne with 11 minutes left. Sharp left for the dressing room hunched over in pain, holding his left arm.

Shaw 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 Thursday, but it’s ‘‘not too bad.’’

As for the game, the Hawks looked a bit off from the start, lacking the intensity they had Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings, the emotion they showed in the Hossa celebration game Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild and the safe, smart play that has marked this unprecedented start to the season.

But Shaw’s power-play goal — a tip-in of a shot by Brent Seabrook after Seabrook drew a retaliatory penalty for dumping David Jones into the Avalanche’s bench — gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead midway through the first period.

Goals by John Mitchell with 1:40 left in the first and Matt Duchene at 13:17 of the second gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead, and the Hawks
entered the third trailing for only the fourth time all season. But there was no panic.

‘‘The mood was very positive, very upbeat,’’ Toews said. ‘‘It’s our building, [and] 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.’’

The intensity picked up from there until Carcillo scored the game-winner — his first goal since Nov. 13, 2011. After dealing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season 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, 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 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.’’



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