I, for one, blame the altitude.
The Chicago Blackhawks' historic point streak to open the 2013 season came to an abrupt end Friday night, as the club was finally felled in 60 minutes, and decisively, too. The Colorado Avalanche handed them a 6-2 loss.
It's the first game that Steven Schucker is probably glad to have boycotted.
The Avalanche came into Friday night tied for 15th in the Western Conference basement, so watching them end the run is a little like watching Kenard shoot Omar Little. It just doesn't seem right.
But in a way, the loss underscored what made Chicago's streak so remarkable.
With parity being what it is in the NHL, Friday night's loss is a reminder that it's possible for any team, even one of the league's lesser lights, to beat any other team on any given night. Considering that, the fact that Chicago only just now collected their first regulation loss is to be lauded.
It just wasn't meant to be on this night. Corey Crawford was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 19 shots. Patrick Kane had just 1 shot, and finished the night a minus-2. With three minutes remaining in the game, Brent Seabrook tripped inside the trapezoid with no one else near him. It was just that kind of night, the kind of night the Blackhawks have managed to avoid, against the odds, for half a season.
Earlier today, Nick Cotsonika wrote about Chicago playing on a different cloud, but after trading goals in the first, the Hawks finally came crashing down to earth in the second period, allowing 4 Avalanche goals in a 10-minute span. It was a strange position for the Hawks to be in -- not only had they not trailed by four all season, they had yet to even trail by three.
They wouldn't get any closer. While Chicago fans have grown accustomed to the club's late-game heroics, there were none to be found on this night. The clubs traded goals again in the third, and when the final horn sounded, the Blackhawks were forced to remember how to leave the ice without points.
It probably felt really weird.
And now the Blackhawks have to remember how to adjust to bouncing back after a rough loss, before they start a streak in the other direction. After all,*they're now 0-1 in the second half of the season and they've been outscored over that span by ratio of 3 to 1. Here's hoping they can right the ship.