Blackhawks not happy about loss, proud of historic streak

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Since Jan. 19, the Chicago Blackhawks took hockey fans not just in the Windy City but in all parts of the world on an extraordinary ride following the lockout.

On Friday, that ride that saw the Blackhawks go 24 games to begin the season without a regulation loss and a franchise best 11-game winning streak, came to an end with a 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Dating back to last March, the Blackhawks had actually gone 30 consecutive regular season games without a regulation defeat, making it the second longest streak of its kind in NHL history. The 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers’ record of 35 games without a regulation loss remains intact.

“We’re not happy we didn’t get two points but we’re certainly proud of the start we had,” defenseman Duncan Keith told the Chicago Tribune.

“It wasn’t easy playing that many games in a short period of time and doing what we did. We’re proud of it but it will be nice to move on now and look forward to Sunday’s game.”

The Blackhawks are now on a modest one-game losing skid, although they still lead the league with a 21-1-3 record and 45 points.

Behind the Blackhawks in the Western Conference standings are the Anaheim Ducks, winners tonight against Calgary.

The Blackhawks lead the Ducks – currently with an impressive 17-3-3 record – by eight points.

“We should be very proud of what we accomplished,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Daily Herald.

“It was a great accomplishment from start to finish. We found some different ways to win night in and night out. Everybody contributed to something that hadn’t been done.”

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced Sunday.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.