The Chicago Blackhawks have their first real setback during an amazing 24-game point streak, with Patrick Sharp out due to a separated shoulder. Sharp was hurt Wednesday in a 3-2 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche.
Patrick Sharp has been more than just a leader on the ice for the Blackhawks, posting 18 points in all 24 games Chicago has played this season. Sharp is in his eighth year with the Blackhawks after beginning his career with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Blackhawks have been as close to perfect as you can get in the National Hockey League. Chicago has outscored their opponents this season by a total of 32 points, the highest in the NHL.
Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa have been great for the Blackhawks during the streak, and Kane’s recent play becomes much more critical due to the loss of Sharp on Wednesday. Blackhawks goaltender’s Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have shared the workload and will continue to do so moving forward.
Ray Emery was expected to be an average back up who only gets a start every time Crawford needs a rest, but has been much more than that. Crawford missed a few games due to injury, and Emery stepped in and has been perfect. Yes, I literally mean perfect, based on Emery’s 10-0-0 record.
Patrick Sharp was placed on the injured reserve Thursday and could be out for an extended period of time. The Blackhawks called-up tough guy Brandon Bollig as a replacement. Bollig has appeared in 11 games for Chicago this season, posting 40 penalty minutes and no points.
Patrick Kane leads the team with 27 points, which is also good enough for ninth in the league. Patrick Sharp leads the team with 78 shots on goal, so you can guarantee the Blackhawks are losing a lot of offensive pressure while Sharp is out.
The Chicago Blackhawks take on the Colorado Avalanche again Friday night, this time in Colorado before returning home Sunday to face the Edmonton Oilers. Chicago is 10 points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Western Conference.
The 24-game win streak has hockey fans guessing when the Blackhawks first regulation loss will come. There is no true way of telling when it will happen, and I doubt anyone believes they will continue to get a point in every game leading up to the playoffs.
Nevertheless, the Blackhawks will keep trucking right along without Patrick Sharp. A timetable hasn’t been placed on his return, but I doubt he will miss more than a week or two. Patrick Sharp out and Brandon Bollig in, but one thing the Blackhawks don’t plan on changing is their winning ways as they move forward to Colorado.