Could this abridged National Hockey League season be one for the record books?
Two troupes, the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks, are at the halfway point of the longest winning streak to start an NHL season. The ‘Hawks have six wins, while Patrick Marleau and the Sharks have five.
Who holds the original mark? Well, two teams do: the 1993–94 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2006–07 Buffalo Sabres. Both teams shot out to 10 wins to start their respective seasons, and both ventured deep into the playoffs bowing out in the Conference Finals. Toronto lost to the Vancouver Canucks 4-1, while the Sabres faltered to the Ottawa Senators, 4-1.
While the Blackhawks have been squeaking by in their last three games — two of which have gone into overtime, the Sharks have been handily beating their opponents thanks to the hot hands of Marleau.
The 33-year-old alternate captain has nine goals and four assists in five games. Four of those five games have seen Marleau net multiple goals. A feat which has not been accomplished since Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators back in 1917 — five years short of a century.
As for Chicago’s next four games, they’ll take their show on the road to battle Minnesota Wild (Jan. 30), Vancouver Canucks (Feb. 1), Calgary Flames (Feb. 2) and San Jose (Feb. 5). The Sharks will host the Anaheim Ducks (Jan. 29), Edmonton Oilers (Jan. 30) and Nashville Predators (Feb. 2) before a coastal trip to play the Ducks, Feb. 4. Then it’s back to the Bay for their bout with Chicago. One that could see two 9-0 teams squaring off against each other.