Blackhawks set best-start record

CHICAGO — The Blackhawks set an NHL record for the best start to a season, beating the Sharks 2-1 Friday night to give them at least one point in their first 17 games.

Chicago (14-0-3) won its fourth straight to break a mark set by the 2006-07 Ducks, who earned points in their first 16 games. The Ducks went on to win the Stanley Cup that season.

The Oilers got points in their first 15 games in 1984-85 and the Canadiens in their first 14 in 1943-44. Those teams also won the Cup in those seasons.

game highlights: The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin, last season's league MVP, left in the third period of a 3-1 win over the visiting Panthers after an off-balance check from Florida's Erik Gudbranson sent him sliding back-first into the end boards. Malkin remained on the ice for several moments but skated off on his own. He was to be evaluated again today, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Ruff speaks: Lindy Ruff is finding it difficult being a spectator after his 16-year run as Sabres coach ended Wednesday with his firing. "Ah, god, I miss it already," Ruff said in his first public comments, at a news conference at Buffalo's First Niagara Center. "I watched hockey the first night. It's hard. … But I've got to keep going. I love the game." Ruff, who also played 10 years for Buffalo, said he intends to pursue another coaching job. He said he wasn't surprised when general manager Darcy Regier came to his home to fire him a day after the Sabres were booed off the ice in a lethargic 2-1 loss to the Jets that dropped them to 6-10-1.

Jurisprudence: Oilers forward Taylor Hall was suspended for two games for a knee-on-thigh hit on the Wild's Cal Clutterbuck on Thursday.

Injury roundup: Jets defenseman Zach Redmond is expected to miss the rest of the season after his right-leg femoral artery was severed and a vein was sliced by a skate blade in a freak practice accident Thursday. … Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov was released from a Detroit hospital and returned to Columbus a day after being hit in the head against the Red Wings and taken off the ice on a stretcher. He said on Twitter he was feeling better. … Senators goalie Craig Anderson, the league leader in save percentage, likely will be out three or four days with an ankle injury, GM Bryan Murray said.

Around the league: The Islanders waived goaltender Rick DiPietro, ending one of the oddest and most expensive sagas in team, and possibly league, history. DiPietro, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft, signed a then-unprecedented 15-year, $67.5 million contract in September 2006. Since the end of 2007-08, DiPietro, 31, has played only 50 games, including three losses this season, because of injuries.

at Blackhawks 0 1 1 2
Sharks 1 0 0 1

First Period1, SJ, Marleau 11 (Thornton, Pavelski), 19:45. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period2, Chi, V.Stalberg 4 (Kane, Oduya), 16:40. PenaltiesHandzus, SJ (hooking), 1:53; Galiardi, SJ (boarding), 9:53; Bolland, Chi (hooking), 13:58; Rozsival, Chi (holding), 18:07.

Third Period3, Chi, Saad 3 (Rozsival, Keith), 2:24 (sh). PenaltiesSeabrook, Chi (tripping), :27; Bickell, Chi (interference), 5:21; Clowe, SJ, minor-game misconduct (roughing), 19:51; Shaw, Chi (boarding), 19:51. Shots on GoalSJ 8-6-13—27. Chi 11-10-13—34. Power-play opportunitiesSJ 0 of 4; Chi 0 of 2. GoaliesSJ, Niemi 7-3-3 (34 shots-32 saves). Chi, Emery 7-0-0 (27-26).

at Penguins 0 1 2 3
Panthers 0 1 0 1
at Penguins 0 1 2 3
Panthers 0 1 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesHuberdeau, Fla (hold), 8:46; Fleury, Pit, served by Jeffrey (trip), 11:53; Mueller, Fla (trip), 16:24.

Second Period1, Fla, Weaver 1 (Campbell), 8:25. 2, Pitts, Kunitz 7 (Neal, Malkin), 10:41 (pp). PenaltySmithson, Fla (hook), 9:23.

Third Period3, Pitts, Niskanen 3 (Letang), 7:49. 4, Pitts, Jeffrey 1 (Cooke, Kennedy), 15:15. PenaltiesKennedy, Pit (slashing), 1:15; Kopecky, Fla (slashing), 5:25. Shots on GoalFla 3-10-10—23. Pitts 12-15-13—40. Power-play opportunitiesFla 0 of 2; Pitts 1 of 4. GoaliesFla, Markstrom 0-1-0 (40 shots-37 saves). Pitts, Fleury 9-3-0 (23-22).

Canucks 0 0 1 1
at Predators 0 0 0 0

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesFisher, Nas (slashing), 10:40; H.Sedin, Van (holding stick), 14:25.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesYip, Nas (interference), 7:30.

Third Period1, Van, Weise 1 (Lapierre, Hamhuis), 9:14. PenaltiesBurrows, Van (slashing), 17:47. Shots on GoalVan 3-9-12—24. Nash 13-5-5—23. Power-play opportunitiesVan 0 of 2; Nash 0 of 2. GoaliesVan, Luongo 5-0-3 (23 shots-23 saves). Nash, Rinne 7-4-4 (24-23).

Blackhawks set best-start record 02/22/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:07am]

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