Last night’s win over the St. Louis Blues was as solid a game as the Hawks could’ve hoped for on the road. It was slightly marred by a first-period injury to Cory Crawford that forced him to an early exit. Just a minor speed bump in the scheme of things. Toews scored on the opening rush of the game and the team then proceeded to methodically outwork the Blues, who by the third period had conceded defeat. As he has done all year, Ray Emery (8-0-0) filled in for Crawford wonderfully, stopping all shots he faced but because he didn’t start he wasn’t given the win.
The BlackHawks now have to avoid the mental trap of looking past tonight’s home game against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets (13 points) at Sunday’s away game against the Red Wings in a nationally televised game. The Hawks have been here before, with the Red Wings standing as spoiler to ever greater ambitions. Detroit is coming off a shootout win in San Jose and has traveled home for two day’s to prepare for the big rivalry. They have 23 points on the season, which places them 4th in the conference albeit 14 points behind the first-place Hawks. But the Blue Jackets must be dispatched before a Detroit campaign can be planned.
The Blackhawks are expected to start Emery again tonight, and it will be up to Joel Quennville to decide whether or not Crawford can suit up on Sunday. The Blackhawks are rolling right along through this season and currently have an 8 point lead over Anaheim for tops in the West. At 17-0-3 the Blackhawks are nearly halfway through the season without a regulation loss. Many feel that if the Blackhawks can survive the weekend without being defeated that’ll be a huge step towards challenging the all-time record of 35 games that is held by the 1979-1980 Flyers.
The BlackHawks’ consecutive point streak of 26 games dates back to last season. Their last regulation loss came on March 25th, 2012, against the Predators at the United Center. The Blackhawks are now 9 games away from tying the record which would take place on March 18th on the road against the Avalanche. If they were to go a year without losing, then they’d be facing the Kings at home on the anniversary of their last defeat without a point. A span of 37 games. But who’s looking too far down the road now?