Blackhawks comfortable playing in Detroit
May, 19, 2013
By Scott Powers
Dave Reginek/NHLI/Getty ImagesJonathan Toews and the Blackhawks have been successful recently at Joe Louis Arena.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks would have obviously preferred to keep home-ice advantage against the Detroit Red Wings in their Western Conference semifinal series.
But although they lost it after falling 4-1 to the Red Wings in Chicago in Game 2 on Saturday, the Blackhawks aren’t intimidated by the fact they have to go into Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena and win at least once to advance to the next round.
“I think we’re both familiar with one another,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Sunday’s practice. “We know everybody is going to be basically playing on a level playing field. We know we’re going to have to win a game in their building. Never know how many you’re going to have to win in their building. We’ve felt we’ve been a pretty good road team all year.”
The Blackhawks have two factors going for them. First, they’ve been successful on the road all season. Second, they’ve experienced plenty of success in Detroit in recent seasons.
The Blackhawks had the league’s best road record at 18-4-2 during the regular season. Two of those four regulation losses also came during the final week of the season. They went 1-1 on the road against the Minnesota Wild during the first round of the playoffs.
As for playing at Joe Louis Arena, the Blackhawks defeated the Red Wings in both their meetings in Detroit this season. The Blackhawks won 2-1 in a shootout on March 3 and 7-1 on March 31. Last season in Detroit, they won once in regulation and once in a shootout and lost once in overtime.
The Red Wings went 2-1 at home and 2-2 on the road during their first-round series with the Anaheim Ducks. The Red Wings were 13-7-4 at home and 11-9-4 on the road during the regular season.
Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Dave Bolland said they enjoy playing in Detroit.
“I like it,” Shaw said. “It’s fast ice. It’s a great environment. The fans are right on top of you. It gets me going. I know a lot of the other guys like playing there as well.”
Bolland said, “We like playing there. They have good ice. When you get good ice, you’re moving that puck easy. Skating, everything is moving faster. It’s a faster pace. We’ve always had success at Joe Louis.”
Quenneville said the game does play differently in the Red Wings’ rink.
“We’ve been in their building a lot of times, and we see what the puck is capable of doing,” Quenneville said. “That’s why the unpredictability -- the end boards, the side boards -- there’s almost a spring to that puck. It’s almost a livelier game in certain areas, and awareness of both sides of the puck is something we got to be ready for.
“Certainly buildings have faster ice or maybe smoother ice or maybe the players feel good for them, maybe there’s a quicker pace. They certainly got some ingredients in their building that are different from ours whether it’s the boards, end boards, high boards. You’ll have some unpredictable bounces out there. But the ice, there’s a lot of good buildings where the ice is good. Our ice has not been a problem. I’m not complaining about it. But they got good ice.”