NHL

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 - 7:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Blackhawks-Blue Jackets Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Paced by their stars, the Chicago Blackhawks remain cautiously confident while off to their best start in four decades.

The undefeated Blackhawks look to start 4-0 on the road for the first time in 46 seasons and continue their dominance over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

After two straight first-round playoff exits following its Stanley Cup run in 2010, Chicago (4-0-0) is poised to return to the ranks of the NHL elite. Healthy and focused, the Blackhawks have scored 17 goals and played solid defense while matching their best start since 1972-73.

"It's a good feeling," said forward Patrick Kane, the team leader with seven points. "We've got to be careful, too. We've got to stay with it and keep building confidence."

The Blackhawks last started 5-0 in 1971-72 and have not opened with four straight road wins since 1966-67. Playing 10 of its first 12 on the road, Chicago rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime at Dallas on Thursday.

Patrick Sharp had a goal with two assists, Jonathan Toews had the game-tying score in the third and Kane delivered a behind-the-back pass to Marian Hossa for the one-time winner 1:41 into overtime.

"We'll talk about that one for a long time, like (Kane) had eyes behind his head,'' coach Joel Quenneville said.

Fully recovered from a concussion suffered in last season's playoffs, Hossa ranks among the NHL leaders with five goals. Hossa, Kane, Toews and Sharp have either scored or assisted on all but three of the team's goals.

That foursome also has combined to score four of Chicago's six power-play goals on 20 chances for a 30 percent conversion rate. The Blackhawks ranked 26th with a 15.2 power-play percentage in 2011-12.

"We've talked about having a good start, but it's not something we're sitting here thinking we're proud of," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We're four games into the season. There's still going to be a lot of hockey to be played and we know there's still room for improvement.

"As long as we keep getting better, that's what we're focused on."

The Blackhawks hope to progress while trying for an eighth consecutive overall victory over the Blue Jackets (1-2-1) and seventh straight in Columbus. Hossa has three goals with four assists in the last five games against the Blue Jackets while Sharp has four and two assists in his last three. Toews tallied four goals and five assists in his last four at Columbus, where Chicago has outscored the hosts 11-2 in the last two trips.

Boasting a 1.98 goals-against average in three starts this season, Corey Crawford is 4-0-0 with a 1.96 GAA at Columbus.

The Blue Jackets scored six times to earn three points in their first two games but have been outscored 9-1 while dropping the last two in regulation. Columbus, which trailed 2-0 in the first period of Thursday's 4-0 loss at Colorado, has allowed the first goal three times in four games.

"We have to have better starts,'' center Ryan Johansen said. "It's tough to come back from deficits in this league. We have to have our focus a little stronger and everybody has to be on the same page. If we do that we'll be successful."

Fedor Tyutin has a team-high four points, and scored Columbus' most recent goal in the second period of Wednesday's 5-1 loss at Phoenix.

Tagged: Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt