Blackhawks close in on season-opening points mark
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks used a strong start against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday to keep their strong start to the season on a roll.
Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and an assist to help the Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-2, extending their season-opening points streak to 15 games.
Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks (12-0-3), who matched the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers for the second-longest season-opening points streak in NHL history. Chicago is one away from the tying the league record set by Anaheim in 2006-07 and will try to match the mark on Tuesday when it hosts Vancouver.
Mike Richards scored two power-play goals in the third period to pull the Kings within one after Chicago outplayed the Stanley Cup champions in the opening 40 minutes and built a 3-0 lead.
But the Blackhawks and goalie Ray Emery hung on.
"The guys wanted to get a good start, a good jump on L.A.," Seabrook said. "Ray made the big saves when he needed to."
The Blackhawks' start to the season is beginning to reach historical proportions in more way than one.
Anaheim won the Stanley Cup in 2007 after its record-setting points start. The 1984-85 Oilers and Montreal, which opened with 14 straight in 1943-44, also won the Cup in those seasons.
Toews, Chicago's captain, says the Blackhawks aren't getting ahead of themselves, however.
"We're 15 games into the season," Toews said. "What's important to us is getting home ice advantage, making the playoffs. Those are our goals. Once you get there, the real season starts.
"When you get to that point, no one really cares or remembers those streaks at the start of the season."
Emery, Chicago's backup, made 25 saves. He lost a bid for his first shutout in more than three years when Richards connected 56 seconds into the third period. Emery made back-to-back starts for the first time this season with Corey Crawford missing his second game because of an undisclosed upper-body injury.
And things got a little frantic for Chicago at the end after Richards notched his second goal — just his fourth this season — with 7:10 left. The Blackhawks spent the final 1:04 short-handed after Johnny Oduya was sent off for slashing, and Jonathan Quick was pulled for an extra attacker during that span.
"I thought we had a great first 40 minutes and they got some momentum off their power-play goal early in the third," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They had a great third period. We had 40, they had a great 20, and the clock ran out, which was nice."
Not so for Los Angeles (5-6-2), which has struggled on offense and with injuries. The only bright spot for the Kings was their power play, which came in ranked 27th in the NHL before connecting twice in a game for only the second time this season.