DETROIT – Patrick Kane talked about the burgeoning streak, the one the Blackhawks added to on Sunday thanks to his power-play and shootout goals. It’s been impressive, for sure. But the Blackhawks believe there’s still a little something missing from their repertoire.
“We still have yet to play our best 60 minutes,” Kane said.
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It’s a phrase a few Blackhawks have uttered during this run, and it was there again on Sunday after their 2-1 shootout victory over Detroit, which lifted the Blackhawks’ season-opening streak without a regulation loss to a gaudy 22 straight. For the Blackhawks, however, it’s not what they’ve done. It’s what remains to be done. And the internal push for improvement continues.
“I don’t think we’re satisfied with what we’ve accomplished, but we’re definitely excited,” coach Joel Quenneville said on Sunday. “We always talk about getting better.”
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Lost in that record-setting start is the fact that the Blackhawks are currently on a nine-game winning streak. They’re 19-0-3. They’ve collected 41 of a possible 44 points. They’ve got a nine point lead in the Western Conference, and after Wednesday night’s game against Colorado they’ll be halfway through this lockout-shortened season.
It’s hard to fathom that the Blackhawks still believe they haven’t played their best hockey yet. They came pretty damn close on Thursday in St. Louis, when they were strong from start to finish in a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. After that victory, Quenenville said, “we’ve had some good games to date, but that might have been our best.”
But the Blackhawks didn’t get to this point by being satisfied with their work to date. Whether it’s those on this team who have won one Stanley Cup and are determined to win another, the nine-game winless streak last winter that they all remember or just the sheer confidence they have in each other, the Blackhawks just keep pushing themselves.
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It’s hard to argue with the results, even if the Blackhawks think they can be better en route to getting them.
“It’s just amazing what’s going on but it’s been fun,” said Kane. “We’re just trying to get better.”