The mighty Chicago Blackhawks set an NHL record in their last trip to the ice and they have an excellent chance at extending that mark in Sunday's matchup against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chicago is the first team in NHL history to record at least one point in 17 straight games to start a season as the club defeated San Jose on Friday night to push its record to 14-0-3. The 2-1 home win over the Sharks allowed the Blackhawks to pass the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks, who went 16 games into that season without a regulation loss.
Columbus would be an unlikely team to end Chicago's record run, considering the Blue Jackets have lost eight straight and 10 of their last 11 games against the Blackhawks. Chicago also has won three in a row and four of its past five home tests against the Jackets.
The Blackhawks won their fourth straight game on Friday, as rookie Brandon Saad scored a shorthanded, go-ahead goal early in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. It was the third goal of the season for Saad, a second-round pick by Chicago in the 2011 NHL draft.
"We're getting key contributions from a lot of different players. Having that depth makes it a lot easier," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It's a group effort."
Ray Emery made 26 saves for a Chicago club that welcomed two players back into the lineup and played with Marian Hossa, who left Tuesday's game against Vancouver after taking a blow to the head from the Canucks' Jannik Hansen, an incident that resulted in Hansen receiving a one-game suspension.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook also returned from a one-game absence due to a lower-body injury, while forward Daniel Carcillo suited up for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in the season opener.
However, the Blackhawks did lose forward Dave Bolland to an upper-body injury on Friday and he is doubtful for Sunday's game.
Chicago is 4-0-1 during its current seven-game road trip, improving the team's record at the United Center this season to 6-0-1. The Blackhawks will play the final portion of their swing Monday night against Edmonton.
The Blue Jackets lost for the fourth time in five games on Saturday and will complete a six-game road trip on Sunday.
Columbus was handed a 2-1 regulation setback by the St. Louis Blues in its most recent game. David Perron scored in the third period to provide the difference for the home team.
"You hold a team like this to two goals, and they had a couple of flurries where they had some opportunities, but we had some chances too," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "They made one more play than we did tonight."
Matt Calvert scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21-of-23 shots.
The Blue Jackets are 2-7-0 as the road team this season.
Columbus is without center Artem Anisimov, who suffered a head injury during Thursday's 3-2 win over the Red Wings. Anisimov was released from a Detroit hospital on Friday and flew back to Ohio. Fortunately, his injury is not considered serious and Anisimov's status is day-to-day.
Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson is also out after suffering a shoulder injury. Johnson was placed on injured reserve Sunday and Columbus recalled forward Ryan Johansen to take his place on the roster.