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Blackhawks start Stanley Cup defense by going 14-3-4 in first 21 games

by Mackenzie McCluer / Chicago Blackhawks
After a short summer full of celebrations, the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks started the 2013-14 season by posting a 14-3-4 record in their first 21 games.

toews red carpet
Jonathan Toews high-fives a young fan while making his way down the red carpet outside the United Center before the Blackhawks' season opener against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1, 2013. The Blackhawks defeated the Capitals 6-4 after a spectacular Stanley Cup championship banner-raising ceremony. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

oduya celebration
Johnny Oduya celebrates after scoring a birthday goal in the third period of Chicago's first regular-season game against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

Andrew Shaw watches as a shot from Blackhawks rookie Joakim Nordstrom flies past New York Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin during a game at the United Center on Oct. 11, 2013. The goal was Nordstrom's first in the NHL. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Blackhawks fans cheer during the Oct. 11 game against the Islanders, which the Hawks won 3-2. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who signed with the team after the offseason departure of Ray Emery, makes one of 17 saves against the Islanders on Oct. 11 in his first appearance of the season. The veteran netminder previously played with the Blackhawks from 2005-09. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Patrick Sharp celebrates after scoring his 200th career NHL goal on Oct. 15 against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., to put the Blackhawks up 1-0. Sharp also scored the lone goal of the shootout to give Chicago a 3-2 victory, which came two days after the birth of his second daughter, Sadie. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

ref toews
Jonathan Toews talks with a linesman during a game against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Oct. 17. The Blackhawks lost 3-2 in a shootout, snapping their three-game win streak. Rookie center Brandon Pirri scored his first NHL goal in the loss. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

hockey fights cancer night
Marian Hossa, Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jonathan Toews observe the national anthem alongside six children who were recognized on-ice through a partnership with the Make-a-Wish and Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer foundations during Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Oct. 19. (Photo by Mackenzie McCluer/Chicago Blackhawks)

Bryan Bickell maneuvers the puck past Toronto netminder Jonathan Bernier for his first goal of the season during the 3-1 victory on Oct. 19. "It's nice to get that first one," Bickell said after the game. "The full team game was huge. [Michael] Kostka, [Brandon] Pirri chipping in again. Overall, good team game." Kostka, a defenseman who left the Maple Leafs over the summer to sign with the Blackhawks, tallied his first career NHL goal against his former team, and Pirri notched his first NHL career multi-point outing. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/Chicago Blackhawks)

Corey Crawford celebrates with his teammates after backstopping the Blackhawks in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers on Oct. 22 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The netminder turned aside 20 of 22 shots in regulation, including a penalty shot from Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau in the second period, and both attempts in the shootout to put Chicago at 6-1-2 for the season. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

toews congratulating peoples
Jonathan Toews doles out fist-bumps as his teammates head to the locker room after a 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Nov. 2. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

kaner messing with his stick
Patrick Kane checks his equipment before a game against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 2 at the United Center. Kane got the Blackhawks on the board with his team-leading eighth goal of the season, bringing his point total to 13 (8G, 5A) through 15 games. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

hossa celebration
Marian Hossa celebrates after notching a power-play goal to knot the score at 2-2 in the third period against the Flames on Nov. 3. The Blackhawks extended their point streak to four games after losing to the Flames in overtime. Hossa tallied six points (2G, 4A) over that span. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

brandon pirri
Brandon Pirri reacts after scoring on Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in the third period to tie the game at four goals apiece on Nov. 14 at the United Center. The center later netted the game-winning goal in the shootout, sealing the 5-4 victory for the Hawks. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

sharpie through traffic
Patrick Sharp, who scored a power-play goal to extend his point streak (2G, 6A) to four games, carries the puck through traffic during the game against the Coyotes on Nov. 14. The Blackhawks peppered the Coyotes with a season-high 52 shots on goal in their fourth consecutive win and eighth consecutive game with at least one point. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

Fans greet Corey Crawford as the netminder makes his way onto the ice for pregame warm-ups. (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

Kris Versteeg celebrates with Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews after scoring against the San Jose Sharks in a Nov. 17, 2013, at the United Center — his first goal as a Blackhawk since leaving the team in 2010. The forward, who was reacquired on Nov. 14 in a trade with the Florida Panthers, also tallied an assist in the 5-1 victory over San Jose. "It was emotional coming back," Versteeg said after the game. "Tonight was very exciting. The guys put in a big effort, and obviously we have to keep that going into the big road trip." (Photo by Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

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