By Adam Hess
The Chicago Blackhawks have been no strangers to making NHL history in recent years. They’ve appeared in four of the last six Western Conference Finals and won three of the last five Stanley Cups, bringing many to call them a modern day NHL Dynasty.
The 2015-16 campaign has not seen a hit-the-ground-running start from the Blackhawks, though that’s fairly normal – the 24-game point streak of the 2013 season was certainly the exception, not the rule. Many players on the team have struggled out the gate, most notably Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, and the team is now without Duncan Keith for at least a month.
However, they’ve still found away to make their marks on the NHL history books even this early in the season, by way of their last two victories.
On Saturday night, the Blackhawks hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning in what was a back-and-forth affair that didn’t see much exciting hockey take place – certainly nothing at the level of June’s Stanley Cup Final. The game went into overtime without a goal being scored. But, just 17 seconds later, Jonathan Toews notched his first goal of the season to win the game, 1-0.
That act was followed up on Monday night, when the Anaheim Ducks came to town for a rematch of May’s Western Conference Final. After 60 minutes of what could really only be classified as a bad hockey game, where neither team seemed to be doing much to win, Chicago found itself in yet another overtime period with no goals on the board. In an act of déjà vu, Toews ripped a shot home to win 1-0, this time taking 51 seconds to do so.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Blackhawks are the first team in NHL history to record back to back wins in overtime shutouts. Moreover, Elias also noted that the Blackhawks are the Stanley Cup Champions to shutout their opponents from both the Conference and Cup Finals in the first matchups with those teams in the next season.
Winning 1-0 in overtime is certainly exciting, though definitely not preferred. The Blackhawks would certainly like to get more offense going and win these games more sure-handedly. Regardless, it takes a special team to do what they’ve done these past few days, so its certainly a feat worth recognizing.