Chicago Blackhawks: Comparing 2013’s And 2016’s Streaks

Jan 19, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Nashville Predators 4-1 at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 19, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Nashville Predators 4-1 at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

“We’re going streaking!” – Will Ferrell as Frank “The Tank” Ricard

On Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks topped the Nashville Predators 4-1 with goals from Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov, Richard Panik and Andrew Desjardins, as well as another All-Star-worthy performance in net from Corey Crawford, making 38 of 39 saves. With the win, not only did the Blackhawks extend their lead in the NHL Central Division standings, they also set a franchise record for consecutive wins with 12. The NHL record for consecutive victories is 17, by the 1992-93 Penguins, but that’s for Blackhawks fans to worry about in the future as the Blackhawks will go for 13 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on tonight.

With the Blackhawks winning streak hitting historic heights, how does it stack up to the start of the 2013 season when the Blackhawks began with a 24-game point streak, going 21-0-3 from January 19 to March 5, before falling to the Colorado Avalanche on March 6?

The case for the Blackhawks’ 2013 Point Streak

Obviously, with the 2013 streak being in the past, it allows one to have a more in-depth look at the impact and significance for what the team was able to accomplish. But looking at the start of the 21012-13 season, it looked as if any hockey being played would be a longshot. The season was in jeopardy and had to wait until January 19 to start due to a lockout.

The Blackhawks would begin with 10 of their first 12 games on the road, winning their first six in a row and setting a franchise record for consecutive wins to begin a season.  They would then have two of their three overtime/shootout losses during the streak happen in back-to-back games against the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks. They would rebound with four straight wins before returning home to lose, in a shootout, to the Anaheim Ducks. After the shootout loss to the Ducks, the first of seven straight homes games, the Blackhawks sat at 10-0-3. They would then rattle off eleven straight wins before falling 6-2 to Colorado on March 6 and effectively ending one of the best starts in NHL history.

There may not be a more complete team in recent NHL history. While many of the same core players are still around in Chicago, the level of play from a large portion of the roster has yet to be seen since. Bryan Bickell is currently looking for a trade after being sent to Rockford for the second time this season. Dave Bolland has played in 101 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers since 2013 ended, with 40 points and a two-game stint in the AHL this season. Viktor Stalberg has bounced between the NHL and AHL as well, playing in 135 games with the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers with 41 points scored.

Looking back it seems that a bit of magic was needed to sustain that high of a level of success for the Blackhawks. Heck, even Daniel Carcillo scored a game-winning goal to extend the streak. The Blackhawks would end the season with a 36-7-5 record and would eventually win the Stanley Cup over the Boston Bruins, their second Cup victory in four years’ time. Not too shabby.

Check it out: Bickell back to the minors

The Case for the Blackhawks’ 2016 Winning Streak

This streak is still a work in progress. Not only has the 2015-16 Chicago Blackhawks squad set a franchise record for consecutive wins, it has done so in a dominating fashion that is surprising in the modern age of the NHL. Unlike the 2013 streak, this 2016 streak has required just one overtime or shootout game so far. Not to mention, the 2015-16 Blackhawks are quite the fresh-faced squad.

Gone are veterans like Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg, and in are young players like Artemi Panarin, Philip Danault and Erik Gustafsson. Add on to that the fact Kane is coming off of one of the toughest offseasons a player could have away from the ice and having one of, if not the, best season an American player has ever had. Kane is on his way to lead the league in scoring and is the odds-on favorite to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Not to mention, he was the leading All-Star vote getter in the Central Division.

Speaking of the debacle that has become the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, how is Crawford not involved? Devan Dubnyk and Pekka Rinne? Really? Come on, fans. If the fans can band together and troll the NHL by voting in John Scott, they can work together in common sense and put Crawford into the All-Star conversation. While Crawford and Ray Emery worked well in tandem to lead the Blackhawks in 2013, the addition of Scott Darling to back up Crawford is an upgrade in depth, for sure. Just look to the first-round matchup in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs for reference.

Add in the fact that the “bottom six” of the Blackhawks’ lineup has been a mix-and-match on a nightly basis for head coach Joel Quenneville, and the Blackhawks are still getting consistent play across all lines and winning, and this current streak is something special.

Of course the winning streak could continue on Thursday and add to the argument, but it could also end. Shhhhhhh.

What do you think? Which streak was or is more impressive for the Blackhawks? Let us know in the comments section.

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