Chicago is well aware of the early domination put on display by the Blackhawks, but this start is even more important than it may seem at first glance. After just 14 games, and posting an 11-0-3 record, the season is already 29% complete. Nearly a third of the way through this shortened 2013 campaign, the Chicago Blackhawks have not lost a game in regulation.
The lead-leaguing record is good for 25 points, four ahead of Anaheim and New Jersey tied at second in the NHL. The Blackhawks are seven points ahead of second-place Nashville in the central division, and are nine points ahead of the eighth seeded Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference.
Remaining level-headed while witnessing such a thoroughly impressive start can be hard, but there is still plenty of hockey left to play. With 34 games to go, the Blackhawks still have much to prove this season, but weathering even a notable drop-off is made much more manageable with the distance the Hawks are currently putting between them and the remainder of the NHL.
If the Blackhawks are able to go another 10 games without a regulation loss, which would truly be an impressive feat, they would have successfully completed half of the 2013 season earning a point in every game. The current NHL record for points in earned in consecutive games to begin a season is held by Anaheim (16 games, 2006-07). The Blackhawks tied for the third-longest streak yesterday, joining the 1943-44 Montreal squad, which puts them one game behind Edmonton at second-longest (15 games, 1984-85).
Its fair to say that 2013 has already been a historic season for the Chicago Blackhawks. The team has come flying out of the gates, and if they can sustain this level of play for just another three games, they will have started better than any NHL team ever. At that point, especially in a shortened season, the Blackhawks could sustain a dramatic drop-off and still make the playoffs. The way things look now, however, there will be no drop-off.
One team in the NHL has scored more goals than the Blackhawks (48), and that is a one-goal lead held by Tampa Bay (49). The Blackhawks are third in the league in goals-against with 29, and are right near the top, trailing Ottowa with 27 and Nashville at 26. Perhaps the most surprising factor of all this is that the team has played only four games at home thus far, posting an 8-0-2 road record to start the season. Although, perhaps the Blackhawks' dominance on the road should not be surprising; we have seen this before...
On the road to winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks ability to win on the road was well-documented, and key to their success. Another thing that' s hard to do when the team is playing so well is to not compare it to the 2010 team- but, come on! The Blackhawks have looked fast, focused and committed, with truly no glaring weaknesses thus far. Even the Stanley Cup-winning team only dominated like this in brief stretches.
The Blackhawks have given fans a legitimate reason to be very excited about what lies ahead in 2013. The only question that remains is how historic will it be?