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Blackhawks try to extend record start in Minnesota

9:53 AM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - Not much is going wrong for the Chicago Blackhawks right now and it has resulted in the Original Six franchise's first ever 6-0 start.

The Blackhawks try to avoid their first loss of the season on Wednesday night as they open up a six-game road trip with a contest against the Minnesota Wild.

After matching the previous best start in franchise history that was set by the 1971-72 club, the current edition of the Blackhawks did one better thanks to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Duncan Keith had a power-play goal in regulation and fellow defenseman Nick Leddy potted the game-winner with 2:15 left in the extra session to secure the franchise's best ever start.

"I heard that stat before the game and I think it's just unbelievable. We've got a great group of guys in this locker room and I think if we just stick to doing the little things and playing the system I think we'll do great," said Leddy, who was the 16th overall pick of the 2009 draft by the Wild before getting dealt to the Blackhawks on Feb. 12, 2010.

Chicago is certainly sticking to its system. In addition to the power-play goal, the Blackhawks killed off all six Detroit man advantages and are 22- for-23 in killing off penalties this season.

Corey Crawford stood tall in his fifth start of the season, making 29 saves. He has posted a 1.78 goals against average and .933 save percentage on the campaign.

"I think everybody deserves credit (for the start); the guys with preparation going into the season, a commitment to playing a real team game," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "Everybody's contributing, everybody's efforts are where we want them to be."

That has come despite the Blackhawks playing 10 of their first 12 on the road. Sunday's win was just their second home game and the club now begins its longest road trip of the shortened season.

It starts in Minnesota, where Chicago has won five of its past seven. The 'Hawks have claimed eight of their last 12 in this series overall, going 2-0-2 in the four meetings last season.

The Wild snapped a three-game slide (0-2-1) with a victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, notching a 3-2 decision on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's late third-period goal.

Bouchard's winner, his 100th career goal, with 5:19 left came after the Wild blew a 2-0 lead. Columbus had tied the game 7:32 into the third.

"We came out a little soft and were playing too careful with the lead and they were able to get some momentum out of it," Bouchard said about the third period. "That's a learning process. We have got to be better when we have the lead."

Bouchard had a chance to add insurance with a penalty shot just over a minute after his goal, but had his attempt turned aside. He is returning to form after being limited to just 97 games over the last three seasons due to concussion issues.

Mikko Koivu added a goal and an assist for his third straight two-point game, while Tom Gilbert also lit the lamp for the Wild. Niklas Backstrom made 17 saves in the victory.

Defenseman Ryan Suter notched his fourth assist in his past three games, though fellow offseason addition Zach Parise had his season-opening five-game point streak (5 goals, 4 assists) snapped.

The Sports Network

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