4:14p.m. EST March 3, 2013
As records go, the Chicago Blackhawks’ new NHL mark of points in 21 consecutive games doesn’t seem akin to the first conquering of Mount Everest.
It’s not a story you will tell your grandchildren years from now. It’s not a “wow” record like Wayne Gretzky’s 215 points in a season or his 50 goals in 39 games. It’s not an eyebrow raiser like Glenn Hall playing 502 consecutive games in net or a charming distinction such as Gordie Howe being the only man over the age of 50 to score in an NHL game.
But whether anyone remembers the record, the Blackhawks’ start in 2012-13 certainly deserves consideration as one of the more astonishing tales in league history.
On Friday night, it was another night, another victory,
We are 21 games into this season, and no team has been able to beat the Blackhawks in regulation. After beating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3 on Brent Seabrook’s overtime goal, Friday, the Blackhawks are now 18-0-3. They lead the NHL in points, goals-against average, penalty killing and swagger.
“When you are on a streak like this, you have a feeling that you are just going to find a way to get it done,” said Chicago forward Viktor Stalberg.
This start anytime in NHL history would be impressive, but doing it in this era of parity is mind-blowing. If you count last season, the Blackhawks haven’t lost in regulation in 27 consecutive regular-season games.
Since the salary cap was introduced in 2005-06, the talent has been spread around to the point that on most nights games are being decided on the basis of which team is healthier or has the hottest goalie.
This morning in the Western Conference the difference between fourth place and 12thwas three points.
Every morning, GMs in the NHL wake up hoping they can find a deal to make their teams slightly better. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are better than everyone else in terms of consistency.
In the era of sameness, the Blackhawks have been able to record the best start in NHL history.
“It’s amazing to be a part of a run like this,” Stalberg said. “But it seems like it hasn’t gotten into our heads at all. We are taking it game-by-game.’
In this 48-game lockout-shortened season, they just need points in three more games to be able say that no one beat them in regulation for half of a season.
This story doesn’t get much national attention because non-hockey fans can’t wrap their sports-love around the truth that the Blackhawks have lost three games in a shootout.
But folks around the NHL have been amazed by what the Blackhawks are doing this season. They have enormous skill, and yet they seem to be grinding out most of their wins. They own 11 one-goal victories, six coming in overtime.
“That’s what happens when you have the confidence,” Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa said. “You don’t worry about losing games.”
Game No. 21 required the Blackhawks to scrap from the opening moments.
They fell behind 31 seconds into the game when Vinny Prospal scored. But they kept plugging away. Stalberg couldn’t quite convert a breakaway opportunity. Patrick Kane rang a shot off the post. Finally, Stalberg jammed home a rebound to tie the score at 18:09.
In the second period, Artem Anisimov scored at 12:42 to give Columbus a 2-1 lead. Again, the Blackhawks kept pushing back until Patrick Sharp scored at 17:20 to tie the score.
Once, the Blackhawks tied the score, it just seemed like a matter of time until someone would rise up to be the offensive hero. This time it was Bryan Bickell who added the go-ahead goal 59 seconds after Sharp’s goal.
The Blue Jackets, however, tied the score 3-3 on a goal by Ryan Johansen with 7:37 left in regulation.
It was the second night of back-to-back games, and the Blackhawks looked weary. But they hung on until they found a way to win. That’s been the plot of many of their victories.
Columbus goalie Steve Mason made a stunning save on Seabrook not long before he netted the game-winner. The winner was set up by a splendid cross-ice feed by Jonathan Toews to Seabrook as he was cruising in from the point.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect Toews to make that pass,” Seabrook said. “He didn’t look at me once. I didn’t yell because he’s so good in those situations. I just let him do his thing.”
Seabrook said he didn’t even shoot the puck: “It was such a hard pass that it hit my stick and just bounced in.”
That’s what happens when you are playing as well as the Blackhawks are.
It’s like they have been playing playoff hockey since the season opened Jan. 19. The question is simply whether they can maintain this level of determination for another three-plus months. If they can, it could end up being one of the more impressive runs in sports history. Then, it would be worth telling your grandchildren about.
Bryan Bickell was born on March 9th, 1986 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Bickell
March 9th, 1986
3 + 9 +1+9+8+6 = 36 = his life lesson = Maximum effort. The height of achievement. Hitting you like a ton of bricks. Built like a tank.
March 9th, 1986
9 +1+9+8+6 = 33 = his “secret” number = Brave. Fierce. Going into the lion’s den. Putting on a good show.
March 9th, 1986
3 + 9 +2+0+1+3 = 18 = his personal year (from March 9th, 2013 to March 8th, 2014) = Surreal. Unreal. Driving Blackhawks fans crazy.
18 year + 4 (April) = 22 = his personal month (from April 9th, 2013 to May 8th, 2013) = Lucky. You’ve gotta be kidding me.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
29715 2932533 51
his path of destiny = 51 = Formidable. Having earned his reputation.
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