CHICAGO -- Halfway through the NHL season the Blackhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation.
When they sat down before the start of the lockout-shortened campaign and set goals for the season, did anyone envision going the first 24 of the 48 games with at least one point?
"Nobody in their right mind," coach Joel Quenneville deadpanned after the Hawks' dramatic 3-2 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday night at the United Center. "You want to be objective and you're optimistic for the season -- and when you say starts you're looking at five or 10 games -- and it has gone on here. We're very pleased, shocked (and) surprised."
Marian Hossa missed the entire game, Andrew Shaw much of it and Patrick Sharp the latter stages with injuries, but the Hawks just kept streaking as they extended their record-breaking run to start the season and also their franchise-record winning streak to 11 games before a crowd of 21,531.
Down a goal entering the third period, the Hawks came alive and eventually won it when Daniel Carcillo scored with 49.3 seconds remaining to help the Hawks improve to 21-0-3 on the season.
Jonathan Toews and Shaw also scored and Ray Emery earned the victory in goal as the Hawks now have captured 45 of a possible 48 points this season. Dating back to 2011-12, they have not fallen in regulation in their last 30 games -- the second-longest streak in NHL history.
"We never go away, we never give up (and) we keep coming at them," said Toews, who evened things early in the third with a short-handed goal. "Whether we have guys injured and we only have three lines, we keep coming.
"We're showing a lot of maturity and a lot of great qualities as a team in any situation that we're tough to play against. If we're down a goal in the third period we can put a lot of pressure on the other team and really make them just survive the pressure we put on them."
The Avalanche, which earlier got goals from John Mitchell and Matt Duchene, cracked as the clock wound down when Carcillo scored his first goal after missing much of last season as well as this one with knee injuries.
"I still don't feel 100 percent out there," Carcillo said. "Body-wise I'm 100 percent but mentally getting back into the game (after) missing almost 14 months, it's hard.
"I'm pretty proud to be able to be on this team and I'll do anything I can every night to help this team win. I think everyone has the same attitude in this room."
It remains to be seen how costly the victory was as Quenneville said Sharp "might miss some time" after the veteran left the ice with a possible left shoulder injury after a hit along the boards from the Avalanche's Ryan O'Byrne. Hossa was a late scratch with an upper-body injury that Quenneville said wasn't serious and Shaw "is not too bad" after taking an elbow to the chin from the Avs' Paul Stastny.
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