May 14, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT
This has been a banner campaign for the Chicago Blackhawks.
And there’s only one more thing needed to make it unforgettable — a Stanley Cup championship.
The ‘Hawks are looking to capture Lord Stanley’s Mug for the second time since 2010, and aiming to do it on the heels of a historic regular season.
Chicago ripped off a streak of 24 games to start the year without a regulation loss — dating back to last season, their points streak reached a remarkable 30 games — and also captured the Presidents’ Trophy for the best overall record in the NHL, the franchise’s second-ever Presidents’ Trophy and first since 1991.
As one would expect from such a dominant campaign, several ‘Hawks had fantastic individual seasons.
Forward Patrick Kane had a tremendous season, racking up 55 points in 47 games, finishing fifth in the NHL in scoring.
Team captain Jonathan Toews wasn’t far behind, scoring 48 points in 48 games — his 23 goals tied him with Kane for fifth overall in league scoring.
So yeah, quite the road to the playoffs.
As for the postseason? Smooth sailing thus far.
Chicago easily dispatched of eighth-seeded Minnesota in the opening round, winning its Western Conference quarterfinal four games to one.
The Blackhawks’ lone blemish was a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3 — outside of that, they outscored the Wild 15-4 and remained undefeated on home ice, posting a perfect 3-0 record.
What lies ahead will be Chicago’s biggest challenge to date, though.
In Round 2, the Hawks will take on longtime Central Division rival Detroit for a spot in the Western Conference finals. The ‘Hawks absolutely beat up on the Wings this year, winning all four matchups (including a 7-1 drubbing on Mar. 31), but the Red Wings are a proud bunch and boast a ton of postseason experience.
It promises to be a great series.
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