One Minute Remaining: Chasing a record point total
Now into the second half of the schedule, the defending champion Blackhawks currently have 63 points and are on a pace to set a team-record regular season point total—with a shot at several others.
Outside of last season's NHL record total for a 48-game slate with 77 points, as well as 68 points through 41 games (half of a full slate), that start featured 24 games without a regulation defeat (21-0-3). If that pace had continued for 82 games, it would have meant a new NHL mark of 136 points.
After accumulating 61 points in the first 41 games of this year, the Blackhawks could eclipse their point total (112) reached in the 2009-10 Stanley Cup season. That first half saw the club register 59 points through 41 games.
Montreal holds the regular-seaon high mark of 132 (60-8-12), set in 1976-77 in 80 games, and they won the Cup that year. Detroit has the second-best total (131), with the most wins (62), in 1995-96, but the Red Wings failed to win the Cup, losing in the Conference Final to the eventual champs: Colorado, with whom Joel Quennville served as assistant coach.
The 61-point first-half total this season (27-7-7) matches the Blackhawks teams of both 1970-71 and 1971-72, which featured the likes of Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito; Chicago eventually reached 107 points over a 78-game schedule.
Other potential franchise marks that could fall this season: most wins (52, set in 2009-10); home victories (30, 1970-71); and road triumphs (23, 2009-10).
With the conference races remaining tight through the first half of the schedule, the importance of maintaining the momentum that the Blackhawks have established thus far will be vital in getting a key playoff position.