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What's the Greatest Start to a Season in NHL History?

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The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their 18th straight game without a loss, February 24, 2013.

The Chicago Blackhawks and their fans celebrate the team's 18th straight game without a loss, February 24, 2013.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Question: What's the Greatest Start to a Season in NHL History?
The Chicago Blackhawks were virtually untouchable as they rolled over opponents at the beginning of the 2013 NHL season.
Answer:

The Chicago Blackhawks went without a regulation loss for nearly seven weeks (and counting) to open the 2012-13 NHL season.

Due to the 2012 NHL lockout, the compressed 48-game schedule did not begin until January 19.

That's when the Blackhawks began, with a 5-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

From there, they reeled off a streak of 24 games with at least one point earned, winning 21 and losing three times in a shootout.

That surpassed the Anaheim Ducks run to open the 2006-07 season. That team recorded points in 16 consecutive games.

Before that, the Edmonton Oilers had at least a point in their first 15 games to start the 1984-85 season.

Both the 1985 Oilers and 2007 Ducks went on to win the Stanley Cup.

For the sake of historical comparison, we should note that the NHL didn't introduce regular-season overtime until 1983, and the shootout wasn't added until 2005.

Chicago's 2013 streak included four overtime wins, three shootout wins, and three shootout losses.

In the days before overtime was introduced, their record would have appeared as: 13 wins-0 losses-10 ties.

In the era of regular-season overtime but no shootouts, the Blackhawks would have had a streak of: 17 wins-0 losses-6 ties.

It's a record-setting undefeated streak, no matter which way you cut it.

Here's a game-by-game look at how it was done:

  • Jan. 19/13: Blackhawks 5 - Los Angeles Kings 2
  • Jan. 20/13: Blackhawks 6 - Phoenix Coyotes 4
  • Jan. 22/13: Blackhawks 3 - St. Louis Blues 2
  • Jan. 24/13: Blackhawks 3 - Dallas Stars 2 (OT)
  • Jan. 26/13: Blackhawks 3 - Columbus Blue Jackets 2
  • Jan. 27/13: Blackhawks 2 - Detroit Red Wings 1 (OT)
  • Jan. 30/13: Minnesota Wild 3 - Blackhawks 2 (SO)
  • Feb. 1/13: Vancouver Canucks 2 - Blackhawks 1 (SO)
  • Feb. 2/13: Blackhawks 3 - Calgary Flames 2 (SO)
  • Feb. 5/13: Blackhawks 5 - San Jose Sharks 3
  • Feb. 7/13: Blackhawks 6 - Phoenix Coyotes 2
  • Feb. 10/13: Blackhawks 3 - Nashville Predators 0
  • Feb. 12/13: Anaheim Ducks 3 - Blackhawks 2 (SO)
  • Feb. 15/13: Blackhawks 4 - San Jose Sharks 1
  • Feb. 17/13: Blackhawks 3 - Los Angeles Kings 2
  • Feb. 19/13: Blackhawks 4 - Vancouver Canucks 3 (SO)
  • Feb. 22/13: Blackhawks 2 - San Jose Sharks 1
  • Feb. 24/13: Blackhawks 1 - Columbus Blue Jackets 0
  • Feb. 25/13: Blackhawks 3 - Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)
  • Feb. 28/13: Blackhawks 3 - St. Louis Blues 0
  • Mar. 1/13: Blackhawks 4 - Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
  • Mar. 3/13: Blackhawks 2 - Detroit Red Wings 1 (SO)
  • Mar. 5/13: Blackhawks 5 - Minnesota Wild 3
  • Mar. 6/13: Blackhawks 3 - Colorado Avalanche 2

(OT) - overtime
(SO) - shootout

The Anaheim Ducks opened the 2006-07 season at 12-0-4: 12 wins, 0 losses in regulation time, and 4 losses in overtime or a shootout.

Of the Ducks' 12 victories in that streak, two were earned via the shootout and one in overtime.

That would have given Anaheim a 9-0-7 streak back in the days when the NHL could declare a tie after 60 minutes.

Playing in the days before the NHL used shootouts to decide regular season games, the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers began their season with 12 wins, 0 losses, and 3 ties.

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