With an easy schedule over the next three weeks, it's quite possible that the team's historic run could last well into March.
Only two of Chicago's next nine opponents are currently in a playoff spot. As the chart below shows, the Blackhawks have a tremendous opportunity to go 29 games to start the season without a regulation loss when they meet the second-place Anaheim Ducks in a Western Conference showdown on March 20.
|Date ||Opponent ||Place in Standings ||L-10 |
|March 1||Columbus Blue Jackets||15th||2-6-2 |
|March 3||Detroit Red Wings ||4th||4-4-2|
|March 5||Minnesota Wild||8th ||6-3-1 |
|March 6||Colorado Avalanche||13th||4-3-3|
|March 8||Colorado Avalanche||13th||4-3-3|
|March 10||Edmonton Oilers||12th||4-4-2 |
|March 14 ||Columbus Blue Jackets||15th||2-6-2|
|March 16 ||Dallas Stars||10th||5-4-1|
|March 18 ||Colorado Avalanche ||13th||4-3-3|
|March 20 ||Anaheim Ducks||2nd||8-2-0|
The Blackhawks currently have the third-longest point streak in NHL history.
|2011-12, 2012-13||Chicago Blackhawks||26|
The Blackhawks can pass the Canadiens with a victory against the Wild on March 5, but getting to the Flyers will be very difficult.
To beat the Blackhawks, a team must have two quality lines, good goaltending and the ability to win close games. With that said, there are three teams that have what it takes to beat the Blackhawks in the regular season and playoffs. They are the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
The Canucks have played the Blackhawks twice this season, with each team winning once in a shootout. The strength of Vancouver's top-six forward group and its exceptional goaltending give the Canucks a tremendous chance to beat Chicago.
The rivalry factor also has to be considered in this matchup—these teams hate each other. Very rarely does one team win by a lopsided score. Vancouver has played Chicago better than anyone thus far, and luckily for the Blackhawks, they don't have to play the Canucks again until April 22, which is game 45 of this 48-game shortened season.
The Kings are playing their best hockey of the season right now, and they have the size, skill and goaltending to beat the Blackhawks in a single matchup as well as a seven-game playoff series. Los Angeles has won five straight games and seven of its last 10.
The defending champions are also playing well defensively with just six goals allowed during their current winning streak. Star goaltender Jonathan Quick is on top of his game right now (three straight wins), and he is more than capable of defeating a high-scoring team such as the Blackhawks.
The Kings are a very physical team and have more power forwards than most teams. They would welcome a physical, low-scoring game with the Blackhawks. The Kings have lost their previous two meetings with the Blackhawks in 2013, so they will be highly motivated to prevent Chicago from sweeping the season series when the two teams meet again on March 25.
Similar to the Kings, the Ducks also have a physical team that is capable of winning one-goal games.
The Ducks were the last team to beat the Blackhawks when they won 2-1 in a shootout at the United Center on February 12. Since then, Chicago has won seven straight games.
Anaheim's scoring depth and goaltending are strong enough to frustrate the Blackhawks. The Ducks have six players with 13 or more points through the team's first 18 games, so it's no surprise that they rank second in goals scored and first in power-play percentage. This is one of the few teams in the NHL with three, and sometimes four lines that can score goals on a consistent basis.
In addition to their high-powered offense, the Ducks have the NHL's most impressive goaltender in Viktor Fasth. The 30-year-old rookie is 9-1 with a 1.92 GAA, and he's one of three goaltenders who have beaten the Blackhawks this year.
If Chicago's streak is still alive when it plays Anaheim on March 20, a victory at the Honda Center would move the Blackhawks past the 1979-80 Flyers for the most consecutive games without losing in regulation in NHL history.
The Ducks have the best chance to beat Chicago of any team, so it's fitting that they would be the Blackhawks' opponent if their streak reaches 35 games.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs.
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