DETROIT – Patrick Kane had a couple shots that simply could not be stopped.
Just like the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago extended its NHL-record season-opening points streak to 22 games Sunday when Kane scored the tying goal on a power play with 2:02 left in regulation and the Blackhawks earned an extra point when the star forward scored the only goal in a shootout of a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
“Just amazing what’s going on,” Kane said.
Corey Crawford was perfect in the shootout and finished with 32 saves to help Chicago win a ninth straight game.
“He had several big saves, particularly right after they scored to go up one,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He kept us in there to make it a one-goal game and gave us a chance.”
The Blackhawks have earned at least a point in 28 straight games—dating to a March 25, 2012 loss in regulation to Nashville—to tie the second-longest streak in league history. They’ve matched Montreal’s multi-season points run from the 1977-78 season and trail only Philadelphia’s streak of 35 straight games with at least a point during the 1979-80 season.
“It’s impressive,” Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard acknowledged after making 32 saves. “They’re finding different ways to do it every single night.”
It looked like Chicago’s sensational streak of success might end when Detroit’s Tomas Tatar broke a scoreless tie early in the third period and Howard stopped every puck that came his way.
Kane and Crawford had other ideas.
“We keep finding a way to keep ourselves in the game or win it at the end,” Kane said.
The Red Wings hurt their chances by getting called for delay of game twice toward the end of regulation for putting the puck out of play.
Chicago took advantage of the first of two late power plays with forward Viktor Stalberg getting more of the puck than Detroit defenceman Kyle Quincey did, pushing it to Kane to set up a one-timer that made it 1-1.
Kane scored from the bottom of the right circle and pivoted toward the crowd, shouting with joy as he pumped his gloves toward the banner-filled rafters.
“He knew the importance of it to get us to overtime,” Quenneville said.
With a sold-out crowd on its feet for a shootout at the end of an entertaining afternoon of hockey, Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk was denied on a low attempt by Crawford’s pads on the first attempt. Jonathan Toews then went high and couldn’t get a shot past Howard’s glove.
Red Wings rookie Damien Brunner made some nifty moves next, but couldn’t keep the puck and for that, Crawford looked thankful as the two met face to face on the ice.
Kane then stole the show, slowly skating toward Howard and lifting his right skate off the ice twice before flipping a wrist shot past him to make the fans at Joe Louis Arena sigh.
“He’s got great skill,” Howard said.
On Detroit’s third attempt in the heart-pounding shootout, Henrik Zetterberg couldn’t extend the game.
“I don’t think we were close to perfect and we almost beat them anyway,” Zetterberg said.
The Red Wings had chances to win in regulation, and in overtime, but Crawford was effective in his return to the net.
Crawford slid to his left to get a piece of Johan Franzen’s shot with 1:40 left in overtime, and the two talked about the play during the subsequent break.
Both teams were inches away from scoring in the final seconds of overtime, with Detroit’s Brendan Smith just missing an opportunity to the left of the net and Kane’s shot squirting past Howard before it trickled just to right of the other net.
The Blackhawks dominated the first period, but Howard—and his teammates—prevented them from scoring on two power plays. The second period was evenly played, then Detroit finally got a shot past Crawford at 2:43 of the third.
Patrick Eaves got to a loose puck behind Chicago’s net, pushed it to Joakim Andersson, whose sharp pass set up Tatar perfectly on the side of the net to beat Crawford.
A bit later, Crawford made a spectacular glove save to deny Datsyuk’s chance that could’ve given the Red Wings a two-goal lead—and perhaps the win in regulation.
Quenneville gave Crawford the start in Detroit after he left his last game Thursday night in St. Louis with an upper-body injury that Quenneville insisted isn’t the same one that forced the goaltender off the ice earlier in the season.
Crawford didn’t get much work early, making just three saves in the first period. He stopped 12 shots in the second—as did Howard—in a fast-pace game filled with end-to-end action and few whistles.
“It was a fun game,” Zetterberg said. “Fans were really into it from the start. These are the games you’re looking forward to play. Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with the win.”
NOTES: The previous record for season-opening points streak was 16 set by the Anaheim Ducks during the 2006-07 season. … Chicago plans to have F Dave Bolland (upper-body injury) back in the lineup Tuesday at home against Minnesota. … Detroit hopes F Valtteri Filppula, out with shoulder injury, can return by next weekend. … Blackhawks F Marian Hossa, a former Red Wing, played in his 1,000th NHL game, a milestone that was recognized by the public address announcer amid a chorus of boos.
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