With their three-game trip through Western Canada already a success, the Blackhawks hoped to head into the Christmas break on a roll like they haven't experienced in over a quarter of a century.
The Hawks entered Saturday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks on a six-game winning streak. The last time they won seven in a row was in a span from Jan. 4-21, 1981 when they won eight straight.
The Hawks were able to match their '80's brethren as they defeated the Canucks 3-1 in front of a crowd of 18,630 at General Motors Place. The victory not only extended the Hawks' win streak to seven, it also increased their run of accumulating points to nine games (8-0-1). The fourth consecutive road victory, including the first two of their current three-game trip, tied a season high and upped the Hawks' record away from home to 8-5-3 and 18-6-7 overall. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews scored goals and Cristobal Huet made 30 saves to win his fourth consecutive start.
"We were very careful on this trip," Huet said. "We started off very well and it gave us confidence on the road. That was a tough one [Saturday night]. We did what it takes to win games and that's the most important thing."
'They're a good team. They hold on to the puck very well and are dangerous. We did a good job taking care of the guys in the slot."
The Hawks fell behind to start a game for the 18th time in their 31 games when Vancouver grabbed a 1-0 lead on an early first-period goal by Daniel Sedin.
But 32 seconds after Huet made a stellar stop on Daniel Sedin's partial breakaway early in the second, Kane evened the score at 1-1. Kane corralled a pass from Andrew Ladd and lifted a back-hander from the bottom of the right circle past Canucks goalie Curtis Sanford and into the top of the net for his 16th goal of the season.
"That goal Kane made, what a shot," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Not too many people can could put it there. It was impossible to go in it looked like but it still found a way to get in there. He's got great vision s and shot selection. He scored three goals on this trip all upper part of the net and spectacular shots."
Sharp scored his team-leading 18th of the season 3 minutes 27 second later to give the Hawks their first lead. Teammate Jonathan Toews found Sharp between the circles and the winger rifled it past Sanford to make it 2-1.
"Our team is just having fun winning games," Sharp said. "We're stringing victories together. It didn't look good at the start of the game but we really battled through and were able to come out on top."
Toews scored into an empty net with 38 seconds remaining for the final margin.
"Our goaltending was spectacular," Quenneville said. "That was first and foremost the biggest reason why we won. Penalty killers (Vancouver was 0-for-6) did a great job as well. Those two areas were strong and instrumental in winning."
The meeting between the teams was the second of the season--the Hawks won 4-2 on Oct. 19 at the United Center--and the next time they meet on Feb. 7 in Vancouver should have a bit of a different look. The Canucks signed free-agent center Mats Sundin on Thursday and the veteran should be a boost to the Vancouver offense.
"It seems everybody comes to the West," Quenneville said. "Certainly he's a great player, a top player and I'm sure he's going to make them better in a lot of ways. When guys are signing it seems like they gravitate out here."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun