By Chris Emma–
(CBS) An Original Six franchise, the Blackhawks were founded in 1926. So any time a team record is set, it’s significant.READ MORE: Woman With Concealed Carry Permit Shoots At Would-Be Gunpoint Carjacker In Roseland
The Blackhawks have reeled off a franchise-record 12 wins in a row after Tuesday’s 4-1 win in Nashville. Artem Anisimov struck first, Patrick Kane added his league-leading 30th goal, Richard Panik pitched in with a score and Andrew Desjardins put it away with an empty-net tally. Once again, the Blackhawks won with relative ease.
In a short time, the Blackhawks’ 2015-’16 season has dramatically turned, with the team shooting from the middle of the Western Conference all the way to the top. It’s been a remarkable run to franchise history.
Let’s look deeper at how the Blackhawks have reached 12 straight wins.
From third to first
On Dec. 29, it seemed the Dallas Stars might run away with the Western Conference. A team built to resemble the Blackhawks that includes former Chicago players Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya around a young, emerging core seemed ready to make a run. Then, the Blackhawks got hot.
The Stars have skid a bit, going 2-6-2 since Dec. 29. That’s just six points to reach 63 on the season. The Blackhawks are 12-0-0 and have tacked on 24 points in that stretch, jumping to 68 points. Now, Chicago is sitting in pole position for the top spot in the conference.
Kane keeps providing points
During the early onset of this season, Kane got red-hot and put together another franchise record, posting a point in 26 straight games. While that fell well shy of Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 51 straight games, it’s quite impressive in this era of hockey. Kane has hardly let up since.
Kane has scored in all but two of the Blackhawks’ 12 consecutive victories and has 21 points during the run — nine goals and 12 assists. He leads the league in goals with 30 and assists with 41, good for 71 points in 49 games. He’s been outstanding throughout the run and is a key part of the Blackhawks’ success.
Crawford covering the netREAD MORE: Chicago Weather: Clearing Overnight, Milder Tuesday
Quietly, goalie Corey Crawford has put together one of his best seasons as a professional. Still, he was somehow snubbed from the All-Star team. Perhaps that has sparked some motivation for Crawford, who has been even better as of late.
Crawford has allowed just 12 goals in the last 267 shots he’s faced, good for a 95.5 save percentage. He’s surrendered two goals or fewer in seven of nine starts during the winning streak. During the 12-game streak, he has a 1.88 goals against average, and his personal winning streak of nine in a row ties Roberto Luongo for the longest such run this season.
Blackhawks have a second line to stay
For years — even amid a run of three championships in six seasons — the Blackhawks had failed to solidify a second line. This season, the second line has come with continuity. The Artemi Panarin-Ansimov-Kane grouping has been superb in its work.
The Blackhawks’ second line has combined for 142 points, with Kane amounting half of that at 71 points. Kane’s the runaway leader for MVP votes, Panarin’s in line to be named hockey’s top rookie and Anisimov’s the anchor of the group at center. During the 12-game winning streak, the group has 42 points, with Kane recording 21, Panarin posting 14 and Anismov adding seven.
Blackhawks run on Duncan
To no surprise, Duncan Keith is in top form the last 12 games. Even at the age of 32, he’s still one of hockey’s top defenseman. Keith has been a big reason for the Blackhawks’ — and Crawford’s — success as of late.
Keith is a plus-10 rating during the winning streak, with 12 points in nine games. Even more imperssive is that Keith is averaging more than 25 minutes a game during that span, giving coach Joel Quenneville that stability at the blue line.
Andrew Shaw shapes up top line
The offseason loss of Brandon Saad left questions as to who would partner up with mainstays Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the top line. Enter Andrew Shaw, who has brought stability to the top grouping.
During the Blackhawks’ streak, Shaw has a plus-10 rating. By comparison, he’s a plus-two the rest of the season. Shaw’s the “sandpaper” player who Quenneville loves in his lineup. He’s no stranger to the proverbial greasy goal and is able to get his body in front of the net to create traffic for the playmakers in Toews and Hossa. That top line is really working.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar