NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 19th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (8-3-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (12-0-3), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks have a chance at matching an NHL record against one of the few teams to hand them a loss this season.
The Blackhawks try to extend their season-opening point streak to 16 straight games on Tuesday evening as they continue a lengthy homestand against the Vancouver Canucks.
Chicago has posted a 12-0-3 record on the season, matching the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers for the second-longest point streak to open a campaign. That is one shy of the NHL-record 12-0-4 mark that the Anaheim Ducks opened the 2006-07 season with.
An encouraging note for the Blackhawks? Both the Oilers and Ducks went on to win the Stanley Cup in their respective seasons.
Chicago won its first six games of the season prior to consecutive shootout losses to Minnesota and Vancouver, which beat the Blackhawks for the fifth time in the past seven meetings.
The 'Hawks have won six of seven since, following up a shootout loss to Anaheim with wins over San Jose and Los Angeles. Chicago picked up the victory on Sunday over the Kings with a 3-2 win in the third contest of a seven-game homestand.
That victory set up this potential record-setting game with the Canucks, though forward Patrick Sharp wasn't aware how close his team was to history after the game.
"I thought we were three away," said Sharp, who scored against the Kings to snap a 10-game goal drought. "It's really not an issue in our locker room to be honest with you. We're just playing hard. We're trying to get better every game. The league's getting better, we've noticed teams have improved since the start of the season and we want to make sure we do the same."
Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews both scored first-period goals and had an assist each, while Ray Emery made 25 saves in another start in place of the injured Corey Crawford (upper body).
Emery has won all five of his starts this season with a 2.17 goals against average and .929 save percentage to compliment balanced scoring by the Blackhawks. Various contributions have been key to Chicago's start according to Toews.
"A lot of people want to look at this streak and think that we're just incredibly hot right now and that everything is going our way, but really we're playing a simple game, we're playing smart and we're getting good starts to games," stated Chicago's captain.
"From top to bottom again, a great performance by everyone. Everyone's contributing so I think when you have that lack of satisfaction and that hunger every single night, it doesn't matter who you're playing, things are going to go your way most of the time."
Things went right for the Canucks during a six-game winning streak from Jan. 30-Feb. 12, a span in which Vancouver outscored its opponents 19-6, but the club has suffered consecutive one-goal setbacks. That includes a regulation defeat to Dallas prior to Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues that closed out a four-game homestand.
After Vancouver's Alex Burrows had a breakaway attempt turned aside with 30 seconds to go in overtime, the Blues got shootout goals from T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald, while Ryan Kesler and Burrows were turned aside on their chances.
Playing in his second game of the season after undergoing offseason shoulder and wrist surgery, Kesler had a goal, while Henrik Sedin tallied his first goal of the season as well. Sedin also had an assist in his first game since becoming Vancouver's all-time leader in points.
"I think in the second (period) they made some adjustments from the first period and took away a lot of our options. We had trouble in the second," said Sedin, who now has 759 points over his career. "But in the third we can in and made some adjustments again and it was almost like a chess game."
Mason Raymond also scored and Roberto Luongo made 20 saves. He has still yet to lose in regulation this season, falling to 4-0-3 with a 1.63 GAA and .934 save percentage this season.
Vancouver begins a four-game road trip on Tuesday and has gone 4-1-2 in its past seven trips to Chicago.
Canucks forward David Booth could make his season debut in this game after sitting out the first 14 contests due to a groin injury. Following an early- season trade that sent him from Florida to Vancouver in 2011-12, Booth notched 16 goals and 29 points in 56 games with the Canucks.
02/19 10:39:05 ET