In one of their most complete games this season, the Blackhawks won their record-tying eighth-straight game Friday night, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1.
The victory included goals from five different skaters, great goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin and suffocating defense, which included allowing just one shot-on-goal by Philadelphia in the second period.
“The team’s playing well,” said Patrick Sharp, who scored the game-winning goal in the first period. “We’re not giving up much defensively, we’re getting good goaltending and we have four lines that are playing their roles just about as well as we can. Any time you can get contributions from everyone, chances are you’re going to win the game.”
The Hawks started strong offensively, with goals from Andrew Ladd and Sharp within the first three minutes of the game, and they kept up the offensive pressure the rest of the night. Though the Hawks only held a 2-1 advantage after two periods, they out-shot Philadelphia 29-10 in those 40 minutes.
The Hawks pulled away in the third, as Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg converted two 5-on-3 power plays.
"If you don't score there, they get a lot of momentum," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of the two-man advantages. "We did a lot of smart things tonight. Took shots, went to the net. The simpler we play, the better we are. This was one of our better games all year, in all aspects.”
The win tied a Blackhawks franchise record, matching eight-game winning streaks recorded in 1971 and 1981.
"It's tough to find a weakness in our team right now," Sharp said. "The best thing about these eight games is that our team has stayed pretty mellow the whole time. We're enjoying the ride, but we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves."
The record-tying game was seen by a record crowd as well, as the 22,712 fans in attendance were the most ever to attend a Blackhawks regular-season game.
“The fans have been awesome the whole year,” Ladd said. “We feed off their energy. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
The Hawks visit Minnesota and Detroit before returning home to play the NHL Winter Classic 2009 at Wrigley Field on January 1.