Hawks endure to tie NHL points record

February, 20, 2013
2/20/13
12:31
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago BlackhawksBill Smith/NHLI/Getty ImagesMarian Hossa scored two goals before leaving the game following a hit to the head by the Canucks' Jannik Hansen.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks should have been in a celebratory mood Tuesday after matching an NHL record of 16 consecutive games with a point to start the season.

But following their 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks weren't exactly in high spirits and thinking about their accomplishment of improving to 13-0-3 and tying the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks for the longest points streak to begin a season.

For one, their minds were on Marian Hossa, who was struck in the back of the head by the forearm of Canucks forward Jannik Hansen in the third period and laid on the ice face-first for a few minutes. Hossa went to the locker room under his own power, but he did not return to the game.

No one needed to remind the Blackhawks that Hossa had to be removed from the ice on a stretcher after taking a blow to the head from Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in the playoffs last season. Hossa did not play in the Blackhawks' final three games and wasn't cleared by a doctor until December.

"That's very unfortunate," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "You never want to see that. Don't know the situation yet, but hope that it's just a minor scare for now and he'll be back soon."

Aside from the injury, the Blackhawks also weren't ecstatic with the way they closed out Tuesday's game. With a 3-1 lead going into the game's final three minutes, the Blackhawks felt they should have easily won the game in regulation, and the game should have never gone into overtime or a shootout.

The Canucks quickly quieted 21,000-plus Blackhawks fans by scoring one goal with 2:42 remaining and then tying the game with 1:01 left when Kevin Bieksa scored after the Canucks removed their goaltender.

The Blackhawks' third-period troubles were similar to what happened against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. The Blackhawks led the Kings 3-0 heading into the third period on Sunday and just barely held on for a 3-2 win after giving up two goals in the last period.

The Blackhawks also gave up a third-period goal in the final three minutes against the Ducks on Feb. 12 which forced overtime. The Ducks won that game in a shootout.

"It was probably not the way we want to pull that one out, but give credit to our team to respond after they tied it up," Patrick Sharp said. "Shootout can go either way. Guys made some nice plays to win it for us. We got to find a way to tighten things up late in the games whether it's being more disciplined, staying out of the box or whatever it may be."

The positive the Blackhawks were able to take from Tuesday's victory was pulling out the victory in the shootout. The Blackhawks had won just once in their previous four shootouts, and it had become a concern for Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw scored in the shootout for the Blackhawks, and Ray Emery stopped two out of three shots.

"Certainly would have liked to close out in regulation, but I still thought after they scored in the last minute and in overtime we did some good things," Quenneville said. "Obviously nice to see (Kane) and (Shaw) finish them in the shootout because I don't know how many breakaways we had tonight, but it was a big number.

"It's a remarkable start. We're really happy and pleased. Guys should be proud of the achievement and where they're at, especially in a 48-game season game, put us in a really good spot."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26