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Blackhawks Tue Mar 05 2013

Blackhawks Streak Reaches 22

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png The Blackhawks (19-0-3) found yet another way to keep their streak of starting the season without a regulation loss, this time by beating the rival Red Wings (10-8-4) in Detroit with a 2-1 win decided by a shootout. Patrick Kane scored the game-tying goal with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left in regulation, as well as the game-winning goal in the shootout.

I've never had high blood pressure in my life, but after watching this instant classic, which was nationally televised for all to see, I may have to make doctor's appointment later in the week. After the Hawks got past the Blues last Thursday, I had Sunday morning's game circled as a potential for the streak to end. The Red Wings, who started the season rather flat, have come on as of late, and there was no doubt Joe Louis Arena would be packed with whoever hasn't moved away from the nation's worst city in which to live.

(OK, Chicago was ranked fourth. Fine. But I'm sure we'll fall back down the list after we clean up all this violence.)

Yet goalie Corey Crawford stood on his head the entire afternoon and stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced. Some of those saw Crawford leaping every which way in order to stop the onslaught of shots from the likes of Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

The first two periods were about as exciting as any I've seen all year. Crawford and Red Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard shut down everything that was sent their way. In fact, after the first 40 minutes, both goalies stopped a combined 39 shots, some of which could have easily gone in for a score.

Center Tomas Tatar broke the seal in the third by redirecting a shot past Crawford, which was sent his way from behind the net. The crowd at Joe Louis erupted and Blackhawks fans everywhere got up to make a sandwich or take care of any other business.

It was a fun ride, but let's face it, the streak ends here. Now maybe we can focus on not letting anything like this distract us from the ultimate goal of winning Lord Stanley's Cup.

Then, out of nowhere, as though some magical pixie dust emanated from coach Quenneville's majestic mustache, Jonathan Ericsson provided an opportunity for the Blackhawks by hoisting the puck into the stands for a delay-of-game penalty with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left in the game.

Interesting...but surely the streak ends here. I'm a Cubs fan and I've been teased for far too long to fall for this one.

That is until Patrick Kane, a guy who I'm sure we would all hate if he were on another team, beats Howard on the short side on a feed from Viktor Stalberg. Game tied, streak continues, Detroit Sucks.

The Chicago faithful in Detroit rose to their feet and drowned out the jeers meant for Kane and his fist pumping after sending shock waves throughout the 313. Kane struck again in the shootout after starting with some speed, slowing down, dancing with the puck, faking a shot, and then, finally, whipping it past Howard who, like everyone else watching, had no idea where it was going.

Crawford shut down Datsyuk, Damien Brunner and Zetterberg in the shootout, and the Hawks put a stranglehold on its main rival (realignment pending) by winning 2-1, and now return home for a two-game set against the Minnesota Wild (11-8-2) later tonight (7:30pm, Comcast Sportsnet) and the Colorado Avalanche (8-8-4) tomorrow night (7pm, NBC).

This was truly the game of the year for the Blackhawks, heck, probably in the NHL as far as I'm concerned. The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins had an epic match-up back on February 20, but there was a lot of sloppy defense in a game that ended 6-5.

In this game, the Hawks and Red Wings did everything possible to score a goal, which always makes for an exciting watch, at least in my opinion. Yet their respective goalies (yes, Jimmy Howard deserves every bit of credit for his performance in this game. He was absolutely lights out) shut down the opposing offense, which made for very few bathroom breaks.

Marian Hossa, who was booed every single time he touched the puck (stay classy, Detroit) and played in his one-thousandth NHL game, dating back to 1997 when he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators. It would have been great to see Big Hoss score a goal in this one, but it wasn't to be.

Just when you think the streak will finally die, this team finds a way to keep it alive. They just keep discovering new ways to win this season, which will be even more important come May and June (this is a recording).

By the end of the week, the season will be half over. There are also two more meetings between the Hawks and Red Wings (at Detroit March 31; in Chicago April 12). If those games are anything like the one just played, we'll all be in for a treat. That, and I'm also going to need some oxygen.

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