Blackhawks win 11th straight, extend points streak
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks were tired, hurting and often on their heels Wednesday night against Colorado.
But despite skating without three key forwards, playing their second game in two nights and falling behind after two periods, they pulled out yet another win.
Daniel Carcillo scored the tiebreaking goal with 49.3 seconds left and the Blackhawks won their 11th consecutive game, beating the Avalanche 3-2 on Wednesday night to extend the best start in NHL history.
“Being down, resiliency, perseverance, whatever you want to call it, there’s a belief in this locker room that whatever position we’re in, we can come back,” Carcillo said. “That’s one of our biggest assets.”
Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw also scored for Chicago (21-0-3), which reached the halfway point of a lockout-shortened season without losing in regulation. The remarkable Blackhawks have earned at least one point in their first 24 games, an NHL record.
Dating back to last year’s regular season, the streak is 30 games.
The Blackhawks broke the previous team record for consecutive wins with their 10th in a row Tuesday night, 5-3 over Minnesota.
Chicago’s overall points streak is the second-longest in NHL history. The 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers set the league record at 35 games with a 25-0-10 run.
Carcillo knocked in a rebound with a backhand shot, his first goal of the season, after Semyon Varlamov made two in-close stops on Viktor Stalberg during a scrum in the crease.
Carcillo is better known as an agitator than a scorer, but he punched in a puck when it counted.
“I want to be more than an enforcer on this team,” Carcillo said. “Just to be able to step in with some key guys going down and helping wherever I can, in this particular situation scoring a game-winner, that’s what we play for.”
Toews scored a highlight-reel, short-handed goal early in the third period, beating two Avalanche players to tie the score at 2. Chicago trailed after two periods for only the fourth time this season.
John Mitchell and Matt Duchene scored for Colorado, which has lost six of seven.
“It’s just frustrating right now,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. “We had some things go well, and to come up again without any points, it’s disappointing.”
Ray Emery made 20 saves for the Blackhawks to improve to 10-0. Varlamov finished with 29 stops.
Chicago forward Marian Hossa sat out with an upper-body injury. Shaw left the game late in the second period and teammate Patrick Sharp left midway through the third.
“It says a lot in this situation,” Toews said. “That team, they were hungry to be the spoiler, and with a couple of guys going down, it’s not easy to keep going.
“But we had a lot of positive talk going into the third period. With what we’ve been through lately, it really helps give us that confidence we somehow, some way, are going to find a way.”
Shaw’s power-play goal on a deflection opened the scoring midway through the first. Shaw was parked in front of the crease, and Brent Seabrook’s drive from the right point ticked in off the shaft of Shaw’s stick.
Mitchell tied it with 1:40 left in the first, exploiting a rare Chicago coverage mix-up. Mitchell skated alone to the right side of the net, took a quick pass across the crease from Chuck Kobasew and lifted a backhand past Emery.
Varlamov stopped Patrick Kane on a 2-on-1 break and Carcillo on a point-blank chance early in the second.
Kobasew missed on a breakaway at 6:11 of the second moments after he jumped back on the ice from the penalty box.
Duchene put Colorado ahead 2-1 with 6:43 left in the second, moments after Varlamov made a point-blank pad save on Sharp.
Duchene streaked down the left side, slipped past Seabrook and took a pass from P.A. Parenteau. Duchene fired from a sharp angle near the goal line, but the puck struck Emery and slipped in under his right arm.
Toews scored at 2:19 of the third to tie it 2-all. He moved down the right wing, then cut to the net around Ryan O’Reilly. Toews skated across the crease — behind both O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn — and banked in a shot off the left post.
O’Reilly and McGinn are forwards who got caught as the two men back during the Colorado power play.
“You have a power play and you give up a chance,” Sacco said. “It’s a good play by a real good player on the other team, but I want to watch the tape again.
“I’m pretty sure O’Reilly got his stick slashed out of his hands (by Chicago’s Dave Bolland). It led to a 1-on-1 situation. If it did, it’s a bad non-call, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
Carcillo’s game-winner was his first goal since returning from a knee injury on Feb. 22.
“We had a big breakdown at the end of the game,” Sacco said.
NOTES: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville offered a postgame injury update. He said Hossa “is close to playing” and might be ready Friday at Colorado. Quenneville said the team would know more about Shaw on Thursday, but Sharp could be out longer and “may get some time.” ... The Blackhawks finished the 2011-12 regular season with a 3-0-3 spurt before losing to Phoenix in the first playoff round. ... The Blackhawks assigned LW Brandon Bollig to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Bollig had played in only two of seven games since Carcillo returned from his knee injury. ... Chicago RW Michael Frolik missed his second game with an illness. ... Colorado played its second game without injured RW Milan Hejduk (torso). D Erik Johnson (head) missed his 11th game and D Ryan Wilson (ankle) his 14th.