Plagued by a depleted lineup, the Chicago Blackhawks did not have an easy time outlasting the Colorado Avalanche to extend their historic start and the franchise's longest winning streak.
Regardless of who is on the ice for the visiting Blackhawks, they expect an even greater challenge trying for a 12th straight victory in Friday night's conclusion of a home-and-home set with the hard-luck Avalanche.
Marian Hossa was a pre-game scratch with an upper-body injury and forwards Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp each left with injuries Wednesday night but Chicago (21-0-3) pulled out a 3-2 win over Colorado. Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed tying goal 2:19 into the third period and enforcer Daniel Carcillo added his first off a rebound with 49.3 seconds left to extend the Blackhawks' franchise-record winning streak to 11 games.
"Being down, resiliency, perseverance, whatever you want to call it, there's a belief in this locker room that whatever position we're in, we can come back,'' Carcillo said. "That's one of our biggest assets.''
Halfway through this shortened season, Chicago has yet to lose in regulation. The Blackhawks are 24-0-6 since a 6-1 home loss to Nashville on March 25 and closing in on the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers' league-record 35-game point streak (25-0-10).
"There's no special equation or whatever," Toews told the Blackhawks' official website. "There's no magic. It's just work ethic and the depth of our team kicking in."
The Blackhawks, who have displayed their strong balance with 13 players scoring game-winning goals this season, might need to rely further on their depth Friday.
While both Hossa and Shaw (chin) traveled with the Blackhawks to Denver, Sharp's status is more of a concern. Tied with Hossa for third on the team with 18 points, Sharp (shoulder) won't play Friday and likely could miss some time, according to Quenneville.
Injuries aside, the Blackhawks already expect to face a tough task against a Colorado team that scored four times on an 0-2-1 trip but has 12 goals during a three-game home winning streak.
"I got a lot of respect for their team," Quenneville said. "We expect another challenging game Friday."
Though the Blackhawks are 14-0-4 on the road since a 5-1 loss at St. Louis on March 6, 2012, they've dropped five of seven (2-3-2) at Colorado.
Matt Duchene and John Mitchell each scored and Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for the Avalanche (8-10-4), who are 1-2-3 during a stretch of six straight one-goal games.
"It's just frustrating right now,'' Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "We had some things go well, and to come up again without any points, it's disappointing.''
Duchene has three goals and three assists in his last three home games versus Chicago.
Though the Avalanche often outplayed the Blackhawks on Wednesday, they were outshot 32-22, and Ray Emery became the first NHL goaltender to start 10-0-0.
Colorado could face starter Corey Crawford, who ranks among the NHL leaders at 11-0-3 with a 1.53 goals-against average. Crawford has allowed eight goals in losing his last two against the Avalanche - both at home - but has a 1.83 GAA while splitting both previous appearances at Colorado.
Chicago's Patrick Kane has a team-leading 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists), but one goal in his last five against the Avalanche.