CHICAGO – Marian Hossa missed the entire game, Andrew Shaw much of it, and Patrick Sharp the latter stages, but the Blackhawks just kept streaking.
The undermanned Hawks overcame serious adversity to extend their run of games without a regulation loss to start the season to 24, and their franchise-record winning streak to 11 with a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday night at the United Center.
Daniel Carcillo scored the game-winner with 49.3 seconds remaining in the third period. Jonathan Toews and Shaw also scored, and Ray Emery earned the victory in goal as the Hawks improved to 21-0-3 this season. They reached the halfway mark of the 48-game lockout-shortened season with 45 of a possible 48 points, and dating back to last season have not fallen in regulation in their last 30 games – the second-longest streak in NHL history.
“We found a way to win,” Emery said. “They came out hard, and I thought we played well. Their goalie played well and kept them in it. We buried a couple in the third and won in exciting fashion again.”
After losing Hossa shortly before the game with an upper-body injury, then Shaw in the second after taking an elbow to the chin, and Sharp with a possible arm or shoulder injury after a hit along the boards, the Hawks carried on with nine forwards.
“We never go away, we never give up, we keep coming at them, whether we have guys injured and we only have three lines, we keep coming at them,” Toews said.
Of the injuries, Sharp’s appears to be the worst, with coach Joel Quenneville saying the veteran “might miss some time.” Quenneville added that Hossa was “close to playing” and Shaw “is not too bad.”
The Saad power-play move paid early dividends, as he had a hand in Shaw’s score midway through the opening period. Saad earned an assist after getting the puck to Brent Seabrook, who unloaded a cannon shot from just inside the blue line that Shaw redirected for his sixth goal of the season.
The Avalanche tied it late in the first when John Mitchell went top shelf with a backhander from near the right post that Emery couldn’t handle.
Both goalies were sharp early in the second, with Emery getting just enough of a Chuck Kobasew shot on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box to keep it even, and Semyon Varlamov stoning Sharp on a break.
Later, Sharp had another opportunity turned aside by Varlamov, and the Avalanche took the lead on the counter-attack as Matt Duchene tucked the puck between Emery and the post to give the Avalanche a 2-1 advantage.
Early in the third, Toews knotted the score 2-2 with a short-handed goal. The captain skated right around Avs center Ryan O’Reilly and tucked a forehand past Varlamov to send the crowd of 21,531 into a frenzy.
Emery kept it that way with a terrific stop on a Gabriel Landeskog stuff attempt to keep the momentum in favor of the Hawks.
Carcillo got the winner when he backhanded a rebound of a Viktor Stalberg shot past Varlamov.
“We’re showing a lot of maturity and a lot of great qualities as a team in any situation,” Toews said. “We’re tough to play against. If we’re down a goal in third period, we can put a lot of pressure on the other team and really make them just survive the pressure we put on them.”