The sports world is currently enjoying two streaks that are beginning to polarize their respective leagues. In the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks are engulfed in a record-breaking 22-game point streak - they have not lost in regulation or overtime this season with their only three losses coming via the shootout. The Miami Heat have been making some noise of their own the past month as they too have a mighty impressive streak as well. Miami has won 14 games in a row to separate themselves from the pack in the Eastern Conference standings.
Yesterday, both of these teams were on prime display for avid and casual fans to take in and enjoy. Chicago faced off against their most-storied rival in Detroit as the Red Wings tried to put an end to the Blackhawks' amazing streak. For a while, it seemed like it was going to happen, but Patrick Kane and the rest of the Blackhawks had other plans. The thrilling game was highlighted by masterful goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Jimmy Howard respectively as Detroit went up 1-0 early in the third period thanks to a beautiful one-timer knocked in by Tomar Tatar. The minutes dwindled away as "Hockey Town" was booming, cheering on their beloved Red Wings. That is, until defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was called for a delay of game penalty with less than three minutes left. The penalty proved to be fatal as moments later, Kane fired a shoulder-high wrist-shot past Howard to dramatically tie the game with just over two minutes left. The streak continued as the game went into overtime and eventually a shootout. Kane continued to break the hearts of Detroit fans as he scored the one-and-only goal in the shootout thanks to his delayed, yet awe-inspiring stick handling he showcased during his game-winning shot. The Blackhawks have now tied a franchise record for the most wins in a row with nine.
Not to be outdone, the Miami Heat pulled off their own comeback against pivotal rivals as they defeated the New York Knicks 99-93 in Madison Square Garden. It was a tale of two halves for the Knicks as Carmelo Anthony led the way with 24 points by halftime as New York enjoyed a 59-45 lead. Carmelo would only add eight more points before the end of the game as Miami scorched New York. LeBron James wound up with 29 points (12 in the fourth), 11 rebounds and seven assists. The Knicks managed to only scored 34 points in the second half as Miami proved that New York should no longer be considered as contenders in the East. The Heat, like the Blackhawks, have now tied a franchise record for the longest winning-streak.
• A flurry of franchise tags and new contracts make up our NFL news the past week. Henry Melton (Chicago Bears), Randy Starks (Miami Dolphins), Jairus Byrd (Buffalo Bills), Pat McAfee (Indianapolis Colts), Ryan Clady (Denver Broncos), Anthony Spencer (Dallas Cowboys) and Branden Albert (Kansas City Chiefs) were all tagged and speaking of the Chiefs, WR Dwayne Bowe has received a new five-year deal to stay in Kansas City.
• This year's Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is now the highest paid QB in NFL history. Even though Flacco signed a massive $120.6 million contract with a $29 million signing bonus ($52 million guaranteed) the salary-cap impact is surprisingly small. Flacco's cap impact will only be $6.8 million in 2013 as the Ravens are now $11.26 million under the limit.
• Men's college basketball has yet another new number-one team in the country as Gonzaga has been voted to the top. With their 29-2 record, they managed to squeak past Indiana (2), Duke (3) and Kansas (4). How long they will manage to stay on top remains to be seen as we inch closer and closer to what could be the most unpredictable March Madness tournament ever.
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