For the first time in nearly a year, the Chicago Blackhawks left the ice without anything to show for their efforts.
The Blackhawks suffered their first regulation loss since last March 25 when they were defeated 6-2 by the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night. The loss snapped three streaks for the Blackhawks, who had won their previous 11 games, had started the season by getting at least one point in 24 consecutive games, and were unbeaten in regulation in 30 straight dating to last season.
Before Friday's game, the last time the Blackhawks had gone home empty-handed was a 6-1 home loss to the Nashville Predators nearly 12 full months ago.
Chicago finished the 2011-12 season with a 3-0-3 run before its historic 21-0-3 start to this one. In all, the Blackhawks went 30 consecutive regular-season games (24-0-6) without a loss in regulation or overtime.
The only team in NHL history to have enjoyed a better run is the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers, who set a record for North American professional sports when they went 35 games without a loss, 25-0-10. Overtime had not yet been implemented, and a game that was even after 60 minutes ended in a tie.
Because the Blackhawks lost via the shootout during their run, they couldn't challenge the Flyers' record unbeaten streak. But both teams will be remembered for their respective historic runs.
Here is a game-by-game account of how the Blackhawks got there:
Friday, March 8, 2013 - CHI 2, COL 6: It looked like the Blackhawks might extend their streak for another night when Jonathan Toews opened the scoring 5:44 into the game. But Paul Stastny got the tying goal before the end of the period, and the Avalanche blew the game open with second-period goals by Matt Duchene, John Mitchell, Ryan O'Reilly and Ted McGinn. Brian Bickell got one back midway through the third period, before a late goal by PA Parenteau assured the Blackhawks of their first regulation loss in 25 games this season.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - COL 2, CHI 3: The Blackhawks lost Marian Hossa before the game to an upper-body injury and Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw during the contest, and it wasn’t enough to stop the streak. Daniel Carcillo’s first goal of the season with just under a minute remaining in regulation broke a 2-2 tie as Chicago edged the Avalanche for its 11th straight win. Shaw and Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks, while Ray Emery made 20 saves to improve to 10-0-0.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – MIN 3, CHI 5: Bryan Bickell scored twice during a four-goal first period, and Brandon Saad had a goal and two assists as Chicago extended its win streak to 10 games. Devin Setoguchi gave the Wild a 1-0 lead before the Blackhawks struck for four goals in the final 6:58 of the opening period. Corey Crawford finished with 20 saves for the victory.
Sunday, March 3, 2013 - CHI 2, DET 1 (SO): Patrick Kane scored with 2:02 remaining in the third period to tie the game 1-1, then scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Blackhawks the two-point victory. It was scoreless until Detroit's Tomas Tatar scored against Chiacgo goalie Corey Crawford 2:43 into the third. Crawford made 32 saves and stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Damien Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg in the shootout.
Friday, March 1, 2013 - CBJ 3, CHI 4 (OT): Vinny Prospal scores for the Blue Jackets 31 seconds in, and for the first time all season the Blackhawks trail in the opening minute of a game. They manage to erase deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 before taking a 3-2 lead into the third period. Ryan Johansen's goal evens things up and forces overtime, but Brent Seabrook taps in a perfect cross-ice feed from Toews to give Chicago its League-leading fourth OT win this season.
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 - CHI 3, STL 0: Coming into St. Louis, the Blackhawks face a motived Blues team looking to end Chicago's streak. It takes the Blackhawks just 12 seconds to steal their energy, as captain Jonathan Toews opens the scoring on the game's first shift. He gets another in the third, and although they lose goalie Corey Crawford to an upper-body injury, Chicago continues its run with a 3-0 victory.
Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 - EDM 2, CHI 3: After being held without a point in the previous two contests, Marian Hossa scores 1:44 into overtime to lift the Blackhawks to their 16th victory of the season. Patrick Kane tallied his 10th goal via the power play in the first period and Viktor Stalberg erased a 2-1 deficit 2:24 into the third. Ray Emery stopped 17 of 19 shots to improve to 8-0-0.
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 - CBJ 0, CHI 1: Corey Crawford was spotless in his first appearance in 12 days as he stopped all 28 shots he faced, which allowed Andrew Shaw’s second-period goal to stand up as the Blackhawks edged the Blue Jackets at the United Center. For Crawford, it was his second shutout of the season as he improved to 8-0-3.
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 - SJS 1, CHI 2: Playing San Jose for the third and final time this season, Chicago fell behind late in the first period. Viktor Stalberg tied the game late in the middle frame, setting the stages for rookie Brandon Saad's first shorthanded goal, scored on a crafty wrister that found the inside of the far post. Ray Emery made 13 saves in the third to improve his record to 7-0-0 on the season, placing the Blackhawks (14-0-3) in the history books.
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 - VAN 3, CHI 4 (SO): With a pair of second-period goals from Hossa giving them a 3-1 lead, Chicago appeared destined to win another game in their phenomenal run. But the Canucks had other ideas. Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa scored in the final three minutes to force extra time, but Kane and Andrew Shaw scored in the shootout to give Chicago a remarkable 13-0-3 record.
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 - LAK 2, CHI 3: Kane is held pointless for only the second time this season, but the Blackhawks still continue to roll. Patrick Sharp's goal 56 seconds into the middle period gives Chicago a 3-0 lead and while Kings forward Mike Richards keeps the game honest with two goals in the third, the Hawks' defense holds the fort for the win.
Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 - SJS 1, CHI 4: The Blackhawks were well rested and playing their second game in a season-long seven-game homestand, and it showed. In a rematch against San Jose, Chicago dominated while making their push for history. The team fired 37 shots at Antti Niemi and once again scoring came from everywhere as eight different Blackhawks players registered a point in the win.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 - ANH 3, CHI 2 (SO): Playing at home for the first time in two weeks, Chicago was rewarded with a matchup against the Ducks (8-2-1), who had won five of their past six games. Chicago led 2-1 late in regulation, but Andrew Cogliano tied the game with 2:40 remaining before Corey Perry sealed the Anaheim win in the shootout.
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 - CHI 3, NSH 0: After showing off their offense for much of the season, Chicago clamped down on an overmatched Nashville team. Three different Blackhawks scored and the stifling Chicago defense allowed a combined seven shots in the first two periods, helping Crawford get his first shutout of the season.
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 - CHI 6, PHX 2: The Coyotes came into the game having allowed six goals in their previous five games. Nobody told the Blackhawks, who scored four in the first period alone. After outshooting Phoenix 17-4 in the first, Chicago chased Mike Smith in the second on their way to a comfortable win.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 - CHI 5, SJS 3: In the most-anticipated game of the young season, the Blackhawks (7-0-2) came to San Jose to meet the Sharks (7-2-0). The first period didn't disappoint, as the teams combined for six goals in the opening frame and four goals in an 89-second span. Crawford calmed down after a wild first, stopping all 23 shots he faced in the final two periods and Kane collected the go-ahead marker in the second before sealing the 5-3 win with an empty-netter.
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 - CHI 3, CGY 2 (SO): Calgary was 1-3-1 entering the game, but Chicago was playing its third game in four nights. As such, the game yielded no goals until the third period, when both teams scored a pair. Kane won it in the shootout, but backup Ray Emery shined in this game, subbing for Crawford to make 45 saves in regulation and overtime along with three more in the shootout.
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 - CHI 1, VAN 2 (SO): In their second match of a season-long six-game road swing, Chicago appeared to be in trouble when Alex Edler's goal was the lone tally into the third period. But as he's done all season, Kane led the charge, tying the game midway through the final period before Jordan Schroeder handed the Blackhawks a 2-1 loss in the fourth round of the shootout.
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 - CHI 2, MIN 3 (SO): It was going to happen eventually. Chicago lost, but the Minnesota Wild needed the shootout to do it. Despite being outshot 15-7 in the first period, the Blackhawks led 2-1 after 20 minutes. But Cal Clutterbuck tied the game early in the second and Matt Cullen sealed the win in a shootout.
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 - DET 1, CHI 2 (OT): In the first installment of the classic Original Six rivalry this season, it isn't the scoring that carried Chicago, but their goaltending. Patrick Kane was kept off the scoresheet for the first time all season, Crawford stopped 29 shots and Nick Leddy won the game in overtime. The 6-0-0 start was the best in franchise history.
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 - CHI 3, CBJ 2: Against a Blue Jackets team they swept in the 2011-12 season series, the Blackhawks actually fell behind in the first. But three unanswered goals from three different players gave Chicago a hard-fought win in which they only mustered 24 shots.
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 - CHI 3, DAL 2 (OT): For the first time in the young season, Chicago appeared on the verge of losing in regulation. The upstart Stars took a 2-0 lead midway through the match. But Jonathan Toews' hard work in front of the net tied the game in the third before Hossa and Kane worked a give-and-go in overtime for a winning goal that remains one of the top highlights of the season.
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 - STL 2, CHI 3: At home against a Blues team that appeared unstoppable while beating Detroit 6-0 on opening night, Chicago got points from nine different players as they raced out to a 3-0 lead. St. Louis came out firing in the third, outshooting Chicago 16-9. While they scored twice, Corey Crawford showed poise as the team's No. 1 goaltender.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 - CHI 6, PHX 4: The following evening, Chicago fell behind 1-0 and then 2-1 to the Coyotes before storming back with four unanswered goals. Hossa and Dave Bolland both enjoyed two-goal games.
Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 - CHI 5, LAK 2 : Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa showed the form that will carry the Blackhawks early in the season, combining for three goals and five points as Chicago spoils the Kings' banner-raising by charging out to a 4-0 lead and earning a comfortable victory.
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