(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks made it halfway through the
shortened season before finally suffering a regulation loss in their last trip
to the ice.
The Blackhawks have a good chance to get back in the win column Sunday, when
they host the sliding Edmonton Oilers at United Center.
Chicago went 21-0-3 to begin the 48-game regular season before finally losing
in regulation Friday evening at Colorado. The Avalanche won the finale of a
home-and-home series in 6-2 fashion, avenging Chicago's 3-2 comeback win in
Wednesday's meeting at United Center.
The lopsided loss ended a pair of monumental Chicago streaks. The Blackhawks
compiled the longest point streak to begin an NHL season and had also won a
franchise-record 11 straight games before losing in Denver.
Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell scored for the Blackhawks, who hadn't lost in
regulation since a 6-1 setback at home to Nashville on Mar. 25, 2012 -- an
incredible stretch of 30 games.
Corey Crawford gave up five goals on 19 shots in 40 minutes to suffer the
defeat. Ray Emery stopped 11-of-12 chances in the third.
"It's a great accomplishment, having different ways of winning night in and
night out and seeing contributions from all different players," said
Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "It was a lot of fun right up until
today. Our opponents treated it like it was something different, and we
welcomed the challenge."
Perhaps, Chicago lost its first regulation game due to the absence of Patrick
Sharp, who suffered a shoulder injury in Wednesday's game against Colorado and
will miss 3-to-4 weeks of action. The valuable two-way forward is fourth on
the Blackhawks with 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) in 2013.
Although they'll be without Sharp for an extended period of time, defenseman
Steve Montador is nearing a return to game action after a long battle with
concussion symptoms. Montador hasn't played since March 27 of last season, but
he was activated from injured reserve earlier this week and is working his way
into game shape.
The Blackhawks can still remain unbeaten in regulation at home on Sunday after
beginning the 2013 campaign with a 11-0-1 mark at United Center. Following
this game, however, Chicago will head out on a four-game road trip that is set
to begin Thursday at Columbus.
One of Chicago's wins during its 11-game streak came at the expense of
Edmonton as the Blackhawks notched a 3-2 overtime win against the visiting
Oilers on Feb. 25. Marian Hossa scored the game-winner at 1:44 of the extra
session to deliver the sixth of Chicago's 11 straight victories.
Edmonton had won three straight in this series before losing that OT decision.
It was the Oilers' second setback in their past three trips to the Windy City.
The Oilers, who are last in the Western Conference with 20 points, enter
Sunday on a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) but the club hasn't lost six in a
row since an 0-8-3 stretch from March 8-31, 2011.
Edmonton has been shut out in its last two trips to the ice, losing 3-0 in
Detroit on Thursday before being slammed 6-0 the following night in Nashville.
All told, the Oilers are 1-4-2 on a nine-game road trip that will end Tuesday
Devan Dubnyk was pulled after allowing two goals on 13 shots in the first
period for the Oilers in Friday's rout. Yann Danis finished up by surrendering
four scores on 21 shots.
"It's difficult to say anything positive about what happened," Oilers head
coach Ralph Krueger said. "There's really no excuses at all."
Edmonton is 4-7-3 as the road team this season.
The Sports Network