The Chicago Blackhawks extended their record-setting start over the weekend behind Patrick Kane's late-game heroics.
While they've turned heads during their remarkable run, Kane thinks their best is yet to come.
Seeking a franchise-best 10th consecutive win in a single season, the Blackhawks try to avenge an earlier shootout loss to the visiting Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Chicago (19-0-3) found itself on the verge of its first regulation defeat Sunday at Detroit before Kane scored with 2:02 remaining in regulation to send things into overtime. The 24-year-old All-Star then notched the game's only shootout goal to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 victory.
"It's pretty amazing. We've talked about the resiliency with this team and it seems like we just keep finding ways to either keep ourselves in the game or win it at the end," Kane said. "The biggest thing is we're just trying to get better. I think we have yet to play our best 60 minutes, so I think that's pretty fun knowing that we have that ahead of us. It's been a fun ride and it's not over yet. We want to keep continuing to win."
Chicago has earned at least one point in 28 consecutive games since last March 25, tied for the second-longest streak in NHL history. Philadelphia went 35 straight in 1979-80.
"I don't think we're satisfied by what we've accomplished so far," said Joel Quenneville, whose team improved to 12-0-3 in one-goal games. "But we're definitely excited about where we're at."
While Chicago's success is due to an overall team effort, Kane has had arguably the biggest impact. He leads the club with 26 points, recording at least one in all but four games.
"Kaner, the last few games, has been flying," Quenneville said. "He's had the puck a lot and he's been dangerous, and he's been a threat. And, he wants to be out there. It's a good situation to be in."
The Blackhawks, who have outscored opponents 24-13 during their nine-game winning streak, now turn their attention to the Wild (11-8-2). Chicago opened the season with six consecutive victories before falling 3-2 at Minnesota on Jan. 30, a result that surely figures to be on its mind.
The Blackhawks have lost the last three matchups - all in shootouts - and have earned at least one point in the last seven in the series (4-0-3). While Wild coach Mike Yeo knows pulling out another victory won't be easy, he's looking forward to the challenge.
"I love it. I'm excited about it for sure," he said. "We just have to play our game. We're a darn good team, too."
Minnesota is coming off its fifth win in seven games, 4-2 over Edmonton on Sunday. Captain Mikko Koivu tallied a goal and two assists as the Wild outshot the Oilers 43-21, including 18-0 in the second period.
"I think we're starting to see what kind of team we're capable of being if we play a full 60 minutes," defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who added a goal and an assist, told the team's official website.
Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves to improve to 6-1-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average over his last eight starts. He had gone 1-4-1 with a 3.43 GAA in his previous seven games versus Chicago before turning away all 28 shots after replacing an ineffective Josh Harding in January. Chicago's Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews scored in the game's first seven minutes.
The Blackhawks have also benefited from tremendous play in goal. Corey Crawford, who made 32 saves Sunday, is 10-0-3 with an NHL-leading 1.41 GAA. Ray Emery has compiled a 2.02 mark in going 9-0-0.
Emery is 3-0-1 versus Minnesota while Crawford is 2-1-2 with a 1.82 GAA in six appearances - five starts.
Marian Hossa, who appeared in his 1,000th career game Sunday, has 11 points over his last 10 matchups against the Wild. Toews has three goals and four assists over his last four.