The streak is just a number now. The NHL record is in the rearview mirror, so each additional game just means another giddy opponent eager to stop the Chicago Blackhawks.

So far, the skaters in red and black have responded to each challenge.

''Without sounding arrogant, it's just business as usual,'' forward Patrick Sharp said.

Thing is, there's nothing routine about it. Certainly not after Chicago beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime on Monday night, stretching its opening points streak to 19 games.

The record went down days ago, when the Blackhawks beat San Jose 2-1 on Friday night to make it 17 in a row. Now the questions are how long can it go on, and which team will stop the streak.

The Oilers gave it a good run, but eventually succumbed to the waves of pressure from the Blackhawks.

''They are an amazingly powerful team,'' Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said. ''They are very strong on the puck and they never, never let up, at all.''

Sharp set up the winning goal with a quick turn along the boards and a drive to the goal that led to two stops by Nikolai Khabibulin.Marian Hossa picked up the second rebound and was again stuffed by Khabibulin before he poked it in 1:44 into overtime for his ninth goal of the season.

''It is a great feeling, obviously,'' Hossa said. ''It doesn't matter who's scoring and lately we have a lot of different guys scoring. We try to enjoy the streak, keep playing a simple game and try to find a way to win.''

Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg also scored for Chicago (16-0-3), which has won six straight and nine of 10. Ray Emery made 17 saves to remain unbeaten in eight starts this season.

The Blackhawks have earned 35 of 38 possible points so far this season.

Author

Andy

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