DENVER -- The visiting locker room at the Pepsi Center wasn’t all gloom and doom after the Chicago Blackhawks lost in regulation for the first time this season.
In fact, Jonathan Toews didn’t lower his head when talking to reporters after the Colorado Avalanche’s 6-2 win. Instead, he grinned.
“Everyone knows you can’t win them all,” said Toews, who scored his 10th goal during Game 25 of the lockout-shortened season. “It’s pretty amazing to look back and realize what we’ve done.”
Friday, the Blackhawks (21-1-3) looked sluggish during their sixth game in nine days, giving up four unanswered goals in the second period, including two in a 33-second span.
“If we were smarter and limited our defensive mistakes, we could have kept it to a tighter game,” Toews said. “We had our chances.”
But even that didn’t dishearten the Hawks or their captain. It only made them appreciate their season even more up to this point.
“Yeah, we won’t make excuses, but tonight showed a lot about us. Showed we won’t give up,” Toews said. “Whether it is 2-1 or 5-1, we never give up. I think that’s what has made this [streak] so special.”
On the other side, the Avs (9-10-4), who finally slayed the NHL’s goliath, took in the moment and recognized the Hawks’ accomplishment as well.
“What a run by them, first of all,” Avs center Matt Duchene said. “Congratulations to that team. What a run they had.”
“They’re the hottest team in the NHL -- in the history of the NHL -- right now,” Ryan O'Reilly added. “They’re a great team.”
But now that the L is permanent to their record, the Hawks are glad to take a breather from a story that has topped headlines for weeks. Sure, they never wanted it to end, but now that it has, goalie Corey Crawford said it will be nice to get back in the flow of a normal season.
“It’ll be good to take a little break from all the attention,” Crawford said. “Now we just need to move on and keep finding ways to get better.”
In the end, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville walked into the tunnel and greeted the media circus with a smile, saying the ride has been a lot of fun.
“It was a great accomplishment from start to finish,” Quenneville said. “We found different ways to win it night in and night out.”
And then he paused.
“But now, it’s time to move forward.”
The Hawks host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.