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Blackhawks match franchise record win streak, thump Flyers
It didn't take long for the Blackhawks to erase any fear they would lose momentum during their Christmas break.
The Hawks picked up right where they left off as they scored 1 minute 13 seconds into Friday night's 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers before a franchise-regular-season-record crowd of 22,712 at the United Center.
The crowd eclipsed the previous regular-season mark of 22,690 on Oct. 25 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The victory extended the Hawks' winning streak to a club-record-tying eight games, matching the mark set during the 1971 season and again in '81. Their fifth victory in a row at home extended the Hawks' points streak to 10 games (9-0-1).
Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland each had a goal and an assist, and Andrew Ladd, Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg scored to lift the Hawks' record to 11-1-4 at home and 19-6-7 overall.
Martin Havlat and Patrick Kane each added two assists as the Hawks, playing for the first time in five days, jumped on a Flyers team that experienced travel problems earlier Friday and was unable to have a morning skate.
Early on, Havlat sent a shot that Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron deflected before it went to Ladd, who knocked in the rebound to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
"We came out with lots of energy," Ladd said. "We needed to play the way we had been — skating and pressuring the puck all over the ice. We did a really good job of that. When guys had chances, they finished."
Sharp kept the Hawks' good times rolling 1:22 later with his team-leading 19th goal. Kane stole a Flyers clearing pass and found Sharp alone between the circles. Sharp picked his spot and fired a wrister over Biron's left shoulder into the top right corner of the net.
"I'm not sure if that played a factor or not," Sharp said of the Flyers missing their morning skate. "We were a little rusty as well, and you're always a little hesitant after a couple of days off. But [we] played physical right away, and we were able to get a couple of goals."
Mike Richards scored for Philadelphia, which had defeated the Hawks six straight times and had come in 7-1-2 in its last 10, before the Hawks exploded to put it away.
Campbell gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead early in the third while on a two-man advantage with a shot from the top of the right circle.
Just less than four minutes later Versteeg also scored with the Hawks on a five-on-three. Versteeg's goal from the left of the net came off a rebound of a Dustin Byfuglien shot.
Bolland boosted the lead to 5-1 a minute later when Campbell sent him a pass between the circles, and Bolland shot it past Biron.
"We kept it close for two periods and still had a chance as late as early in the third period," Biron said. "We ended up getting into too much penalty trouble in the third. Chicago is a tough team to beat in their own building."