Hawks aim for record-breaking performance

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Hawks aim for record-breaking performance

For the first time since 1972, the Blackhawks have tied their franchise-best start to a season. As the only team to achieve a 4-0 record during the shortened 2013 campaign, the Blackhawks sit comfortably at the top of the NHL standings.

On Saturday night, the team will fight to go 5-0 for the first time in their history as they head to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.

Previous matchups

The Blackhawks have continued to build momentum throughout their wins against Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis and Dallas.

Up until their matchup against the Stars, Chicago had established and maintained the lead in their previous three games. But on Thursday, the team had to prove that they are capable of coming back from behind as well.

Derek Roy and Ray Whitney each recorded a goal, giving the Stars a 2-0 lead heading into the third period. But the Blackhawks never slowed their aggression and tied the game by the end of regulation after Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each found the back of the net. Despite goaltender Kari Lehtonen's strong performance in net, Marian Hossa scored the game-winning goal in overtime.

The Blue Jackets, however, haven't exactly had the smoothest start to the year. After winning their season opener in Nashville, Columbus was unable to earn another two points against the Red Wings, Coyotes or Avalanche. In fact, the Blue Jackets are heading into tonight's game after being shut out by Colorado Thursday night.

Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Chicago has only dropped one game at Nationwide Arena. Between the Blackhawks' strong start and the Blue Jackets' struggles early on, Chicago is highly favorited to continue their undefeated season.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 26 of 28 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.