Hawks try for rare win in first road game

May, 5, 2014
May 5
4:49
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks take pride in being a good road team.

Their 24-game points streak last season included 12 road games. They put together a six-game winning streak while on the road this season. They've even clinched two Stanley Cups while on the road.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Toews
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesThe Hawks have lost the first road game in a playoff series eight straight times dating back to 2010, including last season against the Wild.
But when it's come to the first road game of a playoff series in recent years, the Blackhawks' road powers have disappeared. They have dropped the first road game in a series eight consecutive times dating back to 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Blackhawks will be looking to reverse that trend Tuesday when they travel to play the Minnesota Wild for the first time in their Western Conference second-round series. The Blackhawks won the series' first two games in Chicago.

"You know we've been pretty good on the road, but the first game in the other teams' building hasn't been very successful for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said prior to departing for Minnesota. "We've had some good games, close games, overtime games, different kind of games.

"Home ice is an advantage and both teams usually like to take advantage of it. Right off the bat, the home crowd's into it. But we've got some momentum here. Let's try to sustain it going into a tough place [Tuesday], so hopefully, you know, we're looking at the one game and we'd certainly like to be better in that situation. It's an ugly stat and hopefully we can defy it."

The Blackhawks' losing streak in first road games includes falling to the Wild in Game 3 of their first-round series last season. The Blackhawks bounced back to win at the Xcel Energy Center in Game 4 and took the series in five games. The Blackhawks went 1-2 at Minnesota in the regular season this season.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith isn't exactly sure why he and his teammates have struggled on the road in first games.

"I had no idea," Keith said. "I never even heard of that stat before. But obviously when you go into another team's building, I think you have to understand that you've got a lot more things going against you -- the crowd can give the other team momentum and give them energy, so I think we need to do a good job of preparing and knowing that it's going to be tougher. They're going to be skating harder, and I think being able to understand that and come out with our best effort of the series."

Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa understands the obstacle ahead.

"The fans and the building is so loud," Hossa said. "When they do something, it seems like they have so much energy, they come really fast at you. The ice is one of the best ice [surfaces] in the league. The ice is so fast, they'll be flying. We want to make sure we grab the beginning of the game and we want to make sure we play our game."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26