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NHL

'80 Flyers keep eye on streak

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
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The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane advances the puck under pressure from the Minnesota Wild's Devin Setoguchi on March 5, 2013, at the United Center n Chicago. (Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA — If the Chicago Blackhawks stumble on their way to an NHL record for points in consecutive games, Bobby Clarke won't be popping champagne. And if they break the mark of Clarke's 1979-80 Flyers, he won't mope.

Unlike some former stars, who hold their records more tightly than he ever gripped his two Stanley Cups, Clarke can appreciate the way Chicago has inched closer to Philadelphia's record. The Blackhawks are up to 23 straight games this season — and 29 overall — as they chase Philadelphia's NHL mark of 35 straight games with a point.

From Clarke's perspective, the new era of great teams should rise to the level of the ones before them.

“All the records should be challenged and beaten by new generations,” Clarke said.

The great Flyers' captain had one caveat.

“They can't use last year's games, that's foolishness,” Clarke said Wednesday. “Can Sidney Crosby go back and take the points he got in the last 10 games and add them to this year and add them to the scoring race? Can the Flyers add their point total from the last 10 games and add them to this year so they can get a playoff spot? It's legitimate if they do it in one season.”

The Blackhawks would love to do their part to rip off a 36-game mark in one season without a regulation loss. The Blackhawks are 20-0-3 for 43 points and extended their franchise-best 11 game win streak Wednesday by beating Colorado.

Winning it all, however, is the ultimate goal.

Only those ex-Flyers, who crafted a new era after the Bullies' heyday faded, can appreciate Chicago's streak.

Led by coach Pat Quinn, the Flyers opened the season with a win over the New York Islanders and a loss to the Atlanta Flames. On Oct. 14, 1979, the Flyers topped the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3. The World Series and NFL conference championship games would be decided before the Flyers lost again — 7-1, to the Minnesota North Stars on Jan. 7, 1980. The record of 28 games set by the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens was passed with a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Dec. 22, 1979.

“When we were at about 20 games, the media picked it up a lot more,” five-time NHL All-Star Brian Propp said. “It became a bigger and bigger deal. From that point on, we were very aware of where we were. Once we got past 29, we kept cruising to 35. It was pretty amazing.”

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