Hawks aim for record-breaking performance

989173.png

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.

Join us on Comcast SportsNet

Catch all the action beginning at 5:30 with Blackhawks Pregame Live and join the conversation on Twitter by using HawksTalk. Make sure to check out Blackhawks Pulse for all the latest on your favorite players, top trends and team-related photos.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Marian Hossa keeps producing as Blackhawks find chemistry

marian-hossa-hawks-again-1206.jpg
USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Marian Hossa keeps producing as Blackhawks find chemistry

In the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle is joined by Steve Konroyd and Tracey Myers following the Blackhawks 4-0 shutout win over the Coyotes.

The crew breaks down how the Blackhawks keep finding ways to win, how Marian Hossa has remained a top-six forward and how the team seems to have finally found some chemistry without Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford.

Listen to the latest episode below:

Five Things from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Is Brent Seabrook OK?

Five Things from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Is Brent Seabrook OK?

The Blackhawks weren’t exactly reeling — they had only lost two straight games, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Still, they didn’t like the direction in which they were going, especially offensively.

Tuesday was a test in terms of playing another game without Jonathan Toews, another game without Corey Crawford and finding a way against a team that’s struggled this season. The Blackhawks passed the test, finding their offense and denying the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-0 victory.

This week doesn’t get any easier for the Blackhawks, who might be without another top player. We’ll find out more about that in a few days. So before we call it a night, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Coyotes.

1. Slow start, but another first-period lead. Seriously, I’m just going to type this paragraph up for every game and just switch out the name of the opponent. On Tuesday the Coyotes, who played Monday night in Columbus, outshot the Blackhawks early. But thanks to Artem Anisimov’s power-play goal, the Blackhawks led 1-0 after one. It wasn’t a shocker that the Coyotes came out strong early. But again, off the back-to-back, they looked like they were losing steam as the game continued.

2. Brent Seabrook does not return. Seabrook got tangled up with Jordan Martinook late in the second period and, after being down a few moments while holding his head, went to the locker room. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Seabrook is on Wednesday — the Blackhawks don’t practice again until Thursday. The Blackhawks have good depth at defense, as we’ve seen throughout this season. Still, missing Seabrook is always a loss.

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

3. Marian Hossa scores his 13th and 14th of the season. In some previous seasons that might not mean anything tremendous, other than the Blackhawks would take every one of them. But on Tuesday night, in his 27th game of the season, Hossa surpassed his goal total of last season (13 in 64 games). His second, a breakaway off a pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson, put an exclamation point on this one. So, is it time to just admit Hossa is a cyborg? “I’d believe it. I wouldn’t put it past him,” Scott Darling said. “I still can’t believe how fast he is. He’s one of the fastest players I’ve ever been with. He’s an impressive human being.”

4. Scott Darling with the shutout. Maybe it didn’t seem like that overwhelming of a shutout (22 stops), but it was a good outcome for the backup goaltender, who was tremendous on Sunday but nevertheless took the loss to Winnipeg. Darling was still facing a tough situation in the third period — seeing zip. The Coyotes didn’t get their first third-period shot on goal until there was less than six minutes remaining in it. “It’s not ideal. But I guess it’s better than seeing 30 shots in a period,” Darling said. “Beggars can’t be choosers. You just have to stay with it mentally.”

5. Quick strikes in the second period. We’re all familiar with 17 seconds. On Tuesday the Blackhawks had 19 seconds. They scored twice in that time frame (Hossa and Dennis Rasmussen). From that point on, the Blackhawks looked comfortable and confident. Said Quenneville, “We had the puck a lot more. That’s been what we’re trying to get to where we want to go. Tonight was a good step.”