CHICAGO (AP) — No matter what goalie the Chicago Blackhawks put into their net, they are coming away with win after win.
Corey Crawford completed the task to perfection on Sunday night as he made Andrew Shaw's goal stand up in a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets that stretched the Blackhawks' NHL-record, season-opening point streak to 18 games.
The Blackhawks are 15-0-3 and show no signs of slowing down.
Crawford earned his seventh NHL shutout and second this season in his first start since Feb. 12. He outdueled Columbus' Steve Mason, who stopped 26 shots including some sensational point-blank chances.
"I'm seeing the puck well," said Crawford (8-0-3). "Everyone is doing their job, chipping in. It makes it a lot easier for me."
"Overall I felt good."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville thought Crawford looked just fine in his return, too.
"He was quick," Quenneville said. "(He was) big, especially on the side-to-side plays on the power play. He tracked the puck well, looked like he wasn't off for any time at all.
"He had a couple extras days there, got ready. A great response."
Crawford had been sidelined after he sustained an upper-body injury in a 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim on Feb. 12. Ray Emery started and won four games in his absence.
Crawford had returned to the lineup as Emery's backup on Friday when the Blackhawks set the NHL record with at least one point in the first 17 games of a season with a 2-1 win over San Jose. That topped the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks, who started 12-0-4.
Shaw provided all the offense in the second period on Sunday for the Blackhawks, who have earned 33 of 36 possible points.
The Blackhawks also improved to 9-0-3 in games decided by one goal.
"We're playing the score" Quenneville said. "We're playing to win. Being on the right side of pucks in a game like today was a good test for us.
"They work hard. It's the type of game you make sure you don't try to manufacture things. We took too many penalties, but got better as the game went on."
Chicago has won nine straight against Columbus, dating to Feb. 18, 2011.
The 18-game point streak is also a team record for the Blackhawks, who have only lost in shootouts this season.