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Comparing Penguins' streak to Blackhawks' run

by Dave Lozo

When the Chicago Blackhawks ripped off 24 games without a regulation loss to start the season, it included an 11-game winning streak. The Blackhawks fell six short of the NHL record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93.

Nearly three weeks after that streak came to a close, the modern-day Penguins are taking an even stronger run at the 17-game mark set by their predecessors.

Trailing 1-0 entering the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night, Sidney Crosby tied the game with a power-play goal and Tyler Kennedy won it in overtime to give the Penguins their 12th win in a row. The Penguins now trail the Blackhawks by just one point in the race for the Presidents' Trophy, although Chicago has played three fewer games.

How do these impressive streaks match up head-to-head? Not surprisingly, they match up quite impressively.

Goals scored 45 32
Goals per game 3.75 2.91

Note: That's right -- the Penguins scored nearly one more goal per game than the Blackhawks did during their streak. What makes the Penguins' total even more impressive is nine of those games were played without Evgeni Malkin, last season's Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy winner. The Penguins scored three goals or more nine times during their streak; the Blackhawks did it eight times.

Goals allowed 26 18
Goals allowed per game 2.12 1.64
Shutouts 1 2
Save percentage .924 .935

Note: While the Penguins ran over teams offensively, the Blackhawks suffocated them defensively. Chicago held the opposition to two goals or fewer eight times and no foe scored more than three goals. The Penguins began their streak with a 7-6 overtime win in Montreal and allowed 17 goals in their first four games of the run. But in their last eight, they've allowed a total of nine goals. Marc-Andre Fleury had the Penguins' shutout, while Corey Crawford made just four starts over that time but had one shutout of his own and shared the other with Ray Emery.

Top 8 opponents 6 5
Bottom 7 opponents 6 6

Note: Based on the standings as they sit today, neither team received a huge benefit by playing teams currently outside the postseason picture. Two of Chicago's victories came against the San Jose Sharks, who are currently one point out of eighth in the West. The Penguins beat the New York Islanders, who are two points out of eighth in the East, twice.

PPGs 7 6
PP% 20.0 17.1
SHGs 1 2
PK% 77.4 85.7

Note: Neither team leaned on the power play in order to rack up their victories. Both teams have earned 35 power-play chances during their streaks, which gives them percentages that would leave them in the middle of the pack of the power-play rankings. The Penguins scored their only shorthanded goal of the season during their streak, while the Blackhawks have four total on the season. Killing penalties has been an issue for the Penguins and a point of strength for the Blackhawks, both during the streak and throughout the season.

Time with lead 300:19 287:54
Time tied 255:44 288:54
Time trailing 173:17 99:09

Note: The number that jumps out is the Blackhawks' time trailing, which is nearly half the time the Penguins spent behind the opposition. The Penguins had their troubles early and trailed for more than 55 minutes over their first three games of the win streak. The Penguins held a lead on their way to a win for a little more than two minutes twice -- for 2:10 in their second meeting with Toronto and 2:03 in their first game with Boston. In a 3-0 win against the St. Louis Blues, the Blackhawks led for 59:48 after Jonathan Toews scored 12 seconds into the contest.

1-goal comebacks 6 6
2-goal comebacks 1 0
3-goal comebacks 1 0

Note: As this chart shows, the Penguins have dug themselves into a couple of deep holes while the Blackhawks never trailed at any point by more than a goal. The Penguins erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring three goals in the final 6:18 of the third period in a win against Boston and rallied after trailing 4-1 against the Philadelphia Flyers for a 5-4 victory.

Most goals Chris Kunitz (10) Jonathan Toews (4)
Most assists Sidney Crosby (17) Duncan Keith (7)
Most points Sidney Crosby (22) Jonathan Toews (8)

Note: Yes, the Penguins had a far more dominant offensive stretch in their win streak, and it shows in the numbers of Crosby and Kunitz. The Blackhawks did it more with balance, and while Patrick Kane leads the team in scoring this season with 38 points in 30 games, he had just seven points during the 11-game win streak.

PIMs 76 118
Fighting majors 2 4

Note: The Penguins played a more Lady Byng-like brand of hockey during their streak, only dropping the gloves twice during their 12-game run. The Blackhawks were assessed four fighting majors, including the bout between captains Jonathan Toews and Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks in a game that ignited Chicago's streak.


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