It has been almost 12 months since the Chicago Blackhawks have lost a regular season game in regulation.
The date was March 25, 2012. The Nashville Predators had their way in a 6-1 win. The Blackhawks’ next six games after that were either wins, or losses decided in the shootout.
Here we are, Feb. 26, 2013, and the Blackhawks have started the season 16-0-3. They haven’t lost in regulation in their last 25 regular season games. Many factors have contributed. The lockout wiped out more than three months of the 2013 season, helping stretch this impressive streak over time.
Mainly, it’s been the Blackhawks themselves. On Monday, down a goal going into the third period, the Blackhawks sent the game to overtime when Viktor Stalberg scored early in the period. Marian Hossa won it in OT, sending the hometown fans into a frenzy.
“Without sounding arrogant, it’s kind of just business as usual,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp told the Chicago Tribune.
“We have an attitude in here that we can win every night. We’re healthy right now, we’re a confident group and we want to keep getting better.”
The streak the Blackhawks are on ranks third in NHL history. They are three back of the Montreal Canadiens from 1977-78, and 10 behind the all-time longest undefeated streak belonging to the Philadelphia Flyers of 1979-80, according to the Associated Press.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?