DENVER — The Chicago Blackhawks aren't about to mourn the end of their streak.
"We're proud of it, but it'll be nice to move on now," defenseman Duncan Keith said after the Blackhawks' 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
The loss was Chicago's first in regulation this season and ended a remarkable run in which they earned at least one point in their first 24 games, an NHL record.
"It's hockey. We've lost games before in our lives. It's not like we're going to sit here and cry," Keith said.
Instead, they'll sit back and celebrate, said coach Joel Quenneville, who told his team afterward "that they should be very proud of what they accomplished. They found different ways to win, night in and night out, and everyone contributed to something that hadn't been done. It's a great feather in our cap, but let's move forward here and try to get better. Certainly it was a lot of fun up to today."
So they left the ice without a point for once but also with their heads held high.
The Blackhawks (21-1-3) hadn't lost in regulation since a 6-1 rout by Nashville on March 25, 2012, and their last loss in regulation on the road came more than a year ago, with a 5-1 defeat at St. Louis on March 6, 2012.
Dating to last year's regular season, the streak was 30 games.
"That's just mind-boggling," Avalanche center Paul Stastny said. "That's two full months without losing. Hats off to them. But to be the team that was able to stop them — we had a chance last time and didn't do it — but the way our schedule was we knew we had back-to-back games and would have two chances to stop it. And that's what we wanted to do, stop their streak and get one going for us."
Chicago's overall points streak was the second-longest in NHL history. The 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers set the league record with a staggering 35-game unbeaten streak that included 25 wins and 10 ties — all in the same season.
"It's special," said Matt Duchene, who had a goal and a career-best three assists. "It's obviously something no one had done yet. But what a run by them. I mean, first of all, congratulations to them. What a run they had. I don't think they're going to slow down because of this. But it's pretty special. It's a good feeling in here. We're pretty happy."
Remarkable though it was, the streak had become somewhat of a burden for the Blackhawks.
"It's gained a lot of momentum over the last little while and our opponents, they treated it like it was a very important game," Quenneville said. "You look at the standings and everyone has a meaningful game, but it seemed like there was added incentive as we've gone along. We welcomed the challenge."
The Blackhawks' run comes with somewhat of an asterisk because they actually lost three games along the way — all in shootouts. Under NHL rules, that's still worth a point, but that makes it different from what the Flyers accomplished nearly a quarter-century ago.
During the Flyers' streak there was no overtime until the playoffs, and the shootout was still a far-off creation. If the teams were tied after 60 minutes, that's how it ended and each got a point.
Nowadays, both teams still receive a point if the game is tied at the end of regulation. Then, the team that scores in a five-minute, four-skaters-a-side overtime period or wins the shootout gets an extra point.
"It's over," Chicago goalie Corey Crawford said. "Move on to the next game."comments powered by Disqus