The Chicago Blackhawks' 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of the NHL Western Conference Finals didn't just give Chicago what sure looks like total command of this playoff series. It also gives the Hawks a shot at the NHL record books.
The Blackhawks have now won seven straight road games in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying the all-time NHL record also held by the '99 Colorado Avalanche, the '95 New Jersey Devils, and the '80 and '82 New York Islanders. A 2-0 series lead heading back to the United Center means that the Hawks' shot at breaking the record might come in the Stanley Cup Finals.
But San Jose will tell you that Shark Week is still just getting started.
The Sharks might look cooked, but Northern California marine mammals should not be underestimated. There are even sea lions that fight terrorists out on those shores.
"The good news is that everybody thinks we're done," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyletold the Associated Press. "We're going to go to Chicago and try to disappoint everybody. I'm not quitting and no one else in this room is going to quit."
"It can be done and it will be done," Boyle declared.
What makes Dan Boyle say it can be done? He saw it done last week.
The mighty Boston Bruins had not just a 2-0, but then a 3-0 stranglehold series lead on the Philadelphia Flyers in the previous round. The Flyers almost got swept, as Game 4 went to overtime. The Flyers then found themselves losing 3-0 in a decisive Game 7.
The Flyers still won that series and advanced. These are the stunning and unexpected redistributions of fortune you will see in Barack Obama's America.
Consider also that the road warrior Blackhawks are less impressive at home. Chicago is a scorching 8-1 on the road in these Stanley Cup Playoffs. At home, they are a much more pedestrian 3-3.
That doesn't mean there isn't panic in Silicon Valley. Some Sharks fans wonder if super goalie Evgeni Nabokov has played his last game as a Shark. Nabby's contract is up as soon as the Sharks' postseason run ends.
But for now, the Sharks are relishing the underdog role. "This is a good time to come together and raise our middle finger in the air," a defiant Dan Boyle told the San Jose Mercury News.
Somewhere, Rex Ryan approves of the Sharks' new strategy.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks he understands why the Blackhawks do so well on the road.