Blackhawks-Blue Jackets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 25, 2013
Paced by their stars, the Chicago Blackhawks remain cautiously confident while off to their best start in four decades. The undefeated Blackhawks look to start 4-0 on the road for the first time in 46 seasons and continue their dominance over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. After two straight first-round playoff exits following its Stanley Cup run in 2010, Chicago (4-0-0) is poised to return to the ranks of the NHL elite. Healthy and focused, the Blackhawks have scored 17 goals and played solid defense while matching their best start since 1972-73. "It's a good feeling," said forward Patrick Kane, the team leader with seven points. "We've got to be careful, too. We've got to stay with it and keep building confidence." The Blackhawks last started 5-0 in 1971-72 and have not opened with four straight road wins since 1966-67. Playing 10 of its first 12 on the road, Chicago rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime at Dallas on Thursday. Patrick Sharp had a goal with two assists, Jonathan Toews had the game-tying score in the third and Kane delivered a behind-the-back pass to Marian Hossa for the one-time winner 1:41 into overtime. "We'll talk about that one for a long time, like (Kane) had eyes behind his head,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. Fully recovered from a concussion suffered in last season's playoffs, Hossa ranks among the NHL leaders with five goals. Hossa, Kane, Toews and Sharp have either scored or assisted on all but three of the team's goals. That foursome also has combined to score four of Chicago's six power-play goals on 20 chances for a 30 percent conversion rate. The Blackhawks ranked 26th with a 15.2 power-play percentage in 2011-12. "We've talked about having a good start, but it's not something we're sitting here thinking we're proud of," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We're four games into the season. There's still going to be a lot of hockey to be played and we know there's still room for improvement. "As long as we keep getting better, that's what we're focused on." The Blackhawks hope to progress while trying for an eighth consecutive overall victory over the Blue Jackets (1-2-1) and seventh straight in Columbus. Hossa has three goals with four assists in the last five games against the Blue Jackets while Sharp has four and two assists in his last three. Toews tallied four goals and five assists in his last four at Columbus, where Chicago has outscored the hosts 11-2 in the last two trips. Boasting a 1.98 goals-against average in three starts this season, Corey Crawford is 4-0-0 with a 1.96 GAA at Columbus. The Blue Jackets scored six times to earn three points in their first two games but have been outscored 9-1 while dropping the last two in regulation. Columbus, which trailed 2-0 in the first period of Thursday's 4-0 loss at Colorado, has allowed the first goal three times in four games. "We have to have better starts,'' center Ryan Johansen said. "It's tough to come back from deficits in this league. We have to have our focus a little stronger and everybody has to be on the same page. If we do that we'll be successful." Fedor Tyutin has a team-high four points, and scored Columbus' most recent goal in the second period of Wednesday's 5-1 loss at Phoenix.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook gets emotional thanking family in MVP speech

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker