His game Tuesday night had been over only a few minutes, and the sweat from a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings was still pouring down his face but Colorado's Paul Stastny didn't need to be told the score of the Blackhawks game being played. He already knew the Blackhawks were on their way to a franchise-record 10th consecutive win, extending their point streak to 23 games.
Even coming off a loss, Stastny could only smile at the accomplishment.
"Those guys have done something special. It's good for hockey, it's good for them. It's incredible," he said Tuesday night. "They're about to clinch a playoff spot in about five games if they want to and then they can send guys on vacation. We're playing a team on top of their game, it's going to be fun."
Now it's up to the Avalanche to end the streak. They have not one, but two chances to do something nobody else in the NHL has been able to accomplish this season and that's beat the Blackhawks in regulation.
Starting Wednesday night in Chicago the Avs have a home-and-home with the Blackhawks that concludes on Friday. The daunting challenge helps wipe out a second consecutive loss on the road.
"We forget about this one, within an hour land in Chicago and get ready for them," Stastny said. "It's like when you play the Stanley Cup champs. They're the best team in hockey by far. It's kind of a barometer. You want to be the best, you've got to beat the best."
Beating the best is just a bonus, at this point the Avalanche just need to beat someone. They're entering the most crucial point in their schedule and it just happens to come against the best regular-season team the sport has seen in years. While the next two games are certainly high-profile because of the opponent, they could also be harbingers of whether the rest of Colorado's season will be spent pushing toward the playoffs, or regrouping for next season.
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