Dear Bovada , and I'm writing to you because you are based in Canada and are obviously big on hockey odds, how's this for a prop idea: Which streak ends first: Golden State's record 22-game winning streak to open a season or Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane's mark of 22 straight games with a point? Both will be on the line for No. 23 Tuesday night.
Kane's streak is already a record for an American-born player, and he got an assist on Sunday in very unlikely fashion. With time winding down against Winnipeg, the Jets pulled their goaltender trailing 2-1. The Chicago bench knew Kane's streak was about to end, so Coach Joel Quenneville was yelling: "Pass it to Kaner!" Instead, Kane would get a point without the puck even touching his stick. He swatted the puck out of the air with his left hand and right to rookie Artemi Panarin, who fired the puck into the vacant net. That broke the Chicago franchise record of 21 straight games with a point held by Hall of Famer Bobby Hull. Kane still has a mile to catch Wayne Gretzky's uncatchable record of 51 in a row. When Gretzky did that, teams averaged 3.94 goals a game combined (the Oilers averaged 5.86 per game that year). This season, teams are averaging just 2.65 combined goals per game (Hawks at 2.7). Kane has either scored or assisted on 57.4 percent of Chicago's scoring throughout this streak, compared to 51.2 percent for Gretzky during his 1983-84 run.
"I just hope [Kane] breaks the record and then goes on and chases Gretzky. It's only 30 (more games). It's not a big deal. He can get 30 more, I'm sure," Hull said after Sunday's game.
Kane leads the NHL with 42 points in 27 games. He has 13 goals and 23 assists during the streak during which the Hawks are 12-6-4. So he has scored more points during the streak than any other player has scored for the season. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin of the Stars are tied for second in the NHL in scoring with 35 points each entering the week. Sidney Crosby (25) and Dany Heatley (22) are the only current active players to ever have a streak of that long in one season. Kane has scored in 392 of his 603 career regular-season games, so about 65 percent of the time. A player with a 65 percent chance of scoring on any given night thus would have a 1-in-13,000 chance of scoring in 22 straight games with all other things being equal.
Chicago hosts Nashville on Tuesday night -- no early line -- with the Predators playing the second of a back-to-back. The Hawks then visit the Preds on Thursday, host Winnipeg on Friday and Vancouver on Sunday. Chicago and Nashville haven't played this season. Kane had one assist in four regular-season games vs. the Predators last season. Pekka Rinne is one of the NHL's best goaltenders. The Preds didn't start him Monday in Boston so he could play here.
Here are some other games to watch this week:
Detroit at Washington, Tuesday (-155, 5): The Capitals remain Stanley Cup favorites at Bovada at +700 along with Dallas. The Caps had their season-high six-game winning streak snapped on Saturday in a 2-1 overtime loss at Winnipeg. Top goalie Braden Holtby has played seven straight games -- he had won a career-high eight in a row -- so you might see him get this one off with the winning streak over. Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik is close to returning from an injury that has kept him out since Nov. 12 but he won't play Tuesday. Winger Marcus Johansson (lower body) didn't skate Monday and is questionable for Tuesday. So is defenseman Karl Alzner (upper body) and he has played in 401 straight games. The Red Wings have won three straight and are starting to close the gap on first-place Montreal in the Atlantic Division. Detroit's forward depth took a blow last week against Arizona as both Teemu Pulkkinen (dislocated shoulder) and Drew Miller (broken jaw) suffered major injuries and they are likely to miss six weeks each. The Wings and Caps have split two one-goal games this season.
Boston at Montreal, Wednesday: The Bruins are really starting to play well because goaltender Tuukka Rask is. Rask is 4-0-2 with a 1.71 goals-against average, a .941 save percentage and two shutouts in his past six games. The Habs are starting to miss Carey Price as they have dropped two straight and three of four. Montreal has had Boston's number this season, winning a pair of 4-2 games. Price was in net for one and backup Mike Condon the other. Rask started one for Boston and Jonas Gustavsson the other.
Ottawa at Tampa Bay, Thursday: I keep waiting for the Lightning to finally flip a switch and ascend to the top of the Eastern Conference but it hasn't happened yet. They have a goals differential of just plus-1 on the season. Superstar Steven Stamkos has gone six games without a goal. The Bolts almost had disaster strike when goalie Ben Bishop took a stick to his right eye through his mask in Saturday's game. Bishop himself said he was very worried immediately as there was immediate pain and blurred vision, but he's OK. It's not often you will see a defenseman lead the NHL in assists but former Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of the Senators is tied for the league with Kane at 26 helpers. This is the first meeting of the season between the Lightning and Senators.
Los Angeles at Pittsburgh, Friday: The Kings enter the week having won four straight and they are pulling away in the Pacific Division. They just completed a 4-0 homestand and this is part of a six-game road trip. The Kings hosted the Penguins on Saturday and won 5-3. Los Angeles had three goals from defensemen in a game for the first time since 2007; the Kings entered the game with only eight goals from their defensemen all season. It was the first time that L.A. reached five goals this year. Olli Maatta scored for Pittsburgh in his return from a six-game injury absence. Crosby also found the net, only his sixth goal.
San Jose could get arguably its best player back Tuesday in center Logan Couture, who has missed the past 23 games with a fractured right fibula. He returned to practice on Monday, the same day he was activated off injured reserve. Couture had one assist and a plus-1 rating in three games.
Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk has a mild groin strain and won't play again until Friday at the earliest. Dubnyk, who is second in the NHL with 13 wins, left the Wild's 3-0 victory Saturday against the Avalanche with 9:05 left in the second period after making 11 saves. Backup Darcy Kuemper completed the shutout with nine saves for Minnesota and is the temporary No. 1 now.
Nashville's Mike Fisher, perhaps better known as Carrie Underwood's husband, is dealing with a lower-body injury and may not play this week; he's on injured reserve. Fisher has five goals and two assists and is minus-2.
Vancouver has lost center Brandon Sutter for 4-6 weeks due to surgery to repair a sports hernia. The 26-year-old has been out of the lineup since Nov. 10. Sutter was one of the team's big offseason acquisitions, coming over in trade from Pittsburgh and then signing a five-year extension with the Canucks. He had four goals and four assists in eight games.
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