VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -It had been so long since the Chicago Blackhawks won seven in a row that 15 players in their lineup weren't even born yet.
Cristobal Huet made 30 saves, and the Blackhawks extended their winning streak with a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. It is the Blackhawks' longest spurt since an eight-game run from Jan. 4-21, 1981. Chicago had seven six-game winning streaks since then.
"We aren't getting too far ahead of ourselves, but we are having fun with this," said Patrick Sharp, an elder statesman at just 26. "This is new territory for a lot of the guys in here. The playoffs are our goal but we are learning how to win games right now.
"It's very exciting, guys are bouncing off the walls."
Sharp, who scored what turned out to be the winning goal, believes the key to success for this young group has been its willingness to adapt and learn from every situation.
"There are certain players who have come into their own in the roles they have been asked to play, and that has helped us win a lot of hockey games," said Sharp, who leads the Blackhawks with 18 goals. "Often now we are rolling four lines, which is key in the NHL these days, and we are getting great goaltending every night.
"Hopefully we can stay healthy and keep this thing going."
There were a lot of seasons in which the Blackhawks would have given up after falling behind early. That isn't the case anymore.
"That's part of the learning curve," forward Andrew Ladd said. "Early in the season we weren't winning these one-goal games and were actually finding ways to lose them. Right now we are doing all the little things you have to do to win and that is a step in the right direction, something we have to continue to try and build on.
"It helps having those young legs in these back-to-back situations. Vancouver was sitting at home waiting for us, but we had lots of jump. That's a big part of our game, our ability to skate hard every night. We've had a lot of that lately."
Huet improved to 8-5-3.
"They are a good team," Huet said. "They hold on to the puck very well and they have some excellent behind-the-net plays. It's very tough to defend against some of those plays. You have to clear the front of the net, and we did a good job of taking away the pass into the slot."
It was one of those plays that allowed Vancouver to take the lead. Henrik Sedin's backhand pass to the front of the net went off the skate of linemate Jannik Hansen and wound up on the stick of Daniel Sedin at the side of the Blackhawks net. Huet couldn't get across the crease in time, leaving Daniel Sedin an empty net.
"That was a tough one tonight but we did what it takes to win games, and that is what is most important," said Huet, who has allowed three goals in winning his last four starts.
Curtis Sanford made 31 saves for Vancouver.
Notes: Canucks G Roberto Luongo, out since Nov. 22 with a groin injury, missed his 12th straight game. Vancouver was also without D Sami Salo, who will miss four weeks after breaking a rib Wednesday against Edmonton. Salo had just returned to the lineup after missing three games with an injured groin. ... G Nikolai Khabibulin sat out after leading the Blackhawks to an overtime win against Calgary on Friday. Khabibulin is 0-7-1 against the Canucks in nine starts over nearly 11 years. ... LW Andrew Ladd assisted on the Blackhawks' first goal, extending his point streak to five games (1 goal, 6 assists).
|Daniel Sedin (15) ASST: Jannik Hansen (13), Henrik Sedin (25)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Patrick Kane (16) ASST: Andrew Ladd (16), Kris Versteeg (17)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Patrick Sharp (18) ASST: Jonathan Toews (17), Cam Barker (14)|
2 - 1 CHI
|EN - Jonathan Toews (9) ASST: Craig Adams (2)|
3 - 1 CHI
|Troy Brouwer Interference against Shane O'Brien|
|Kevin Bieksa Tripping against Andrew Ladd|
|Shane O'Brien Holding the stick against Dustin Byfuglien|
|Dave Bolland Hooking against Mattias Ohlund|
|Ben Eager Interference against Kyle Wellwood|
|Kyle Wellwood Too many men/ice - bench|
|Patrick Kane Interference on goalkeeper against Curtis Sanford|
|Dustin Byfuglien Cross checking against Willie Mitchell|
|Duncan Keith Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Willie Mitchell Interference against Ben Eager|
|Dave Bolland Interference against Steve Bernier|
|Steve Bernier Abuse of officials - bench|