Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Hawks could tie road record in Game 2
By Jesse Rogers
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- If the Chicago Blackhawks want to return home from a week in northern California with a 2-0 Western Conference Finals lead, they’ll have to do it by tying an NHL record for most consecutive road wins in any one postseason.
The Hawks have won six in a row away from home. Four other teams in history have won seven consecutive road games. Three of them went on to win the Stanley Cup.
“I didn’t know about the record but definitely it’s something that would be great to achieve,” Marian Hossa said after practice on Tuesday morning. “The most important thing is to win the hockey game.”
If they do, they’ll take a commanding lead in the series. As a franchise, the San Jose Sharks are 0-7 in playoff series when trailing 2-0. Considering how well road teams have fared this postseason, the idea of going home with just a split isn’t good enough for the visitors.
“You can’t say, ‘Oh well, it was their building, we’ll go back and win in ours,’” John Madden explained. “That’s not the way we approach games.”
So far home teams are 36-40 in this year’s playoffs, which rates as the second-worst winning percentage for home games in NHL history. And there’s still two rounds to play.
One way the Blackhawks could drop Game 2 is if they don’t bring their best effort. There has been a game in each series -- Game 3 against the Nashville Predators and Game 5 against the Vancouver Canucks -- in which this has happened. Winger Adam Burish doesn’t think that will be the case here.
“It’s more of a confident team now,” Burish said. “The first series against Nashville, I wouldn’t say we were playing with a lot of confidence. We weren’t really sure what team was going to show up some nights. I think now I’d say it’s a confident team. I’d say we understand what it takes to win now. How hard we have to play, and how desperate you have to play. Whether it’s convincing ourselves or not, it’s a confidence thing that gets you to this point.”
It sounds like coach Joel Quenneville is trying to convince his players to play desperate despite San Jose being the team down in the series.
“Going into new games, you never know what can happen, the way the game is going to play out,” Quenneville said. “I think focus is something we're stressing going into today's game. We're playing and approaching like we have to win. That's basically where we're at.”
--Jonathan Toews has a 10-game playoff point streak. He has 20 points in those 10 games. His career 1.13 points per game (minimum 30 games) in the postseason, is second only to Bobby Hull’s 1.14 as the Blackhawks’ best.
--According to TSN, Antti Niemi in Game 1 had the second-best single-game save percentage in Blackhawks playoff history (minimum 45 shots). His .978 is second only to Ed Belfour in 1996. Belfour stopped 55 of 56 for a .982 percentage.
--After a week in the same city and same hotel, Burish was asked for the best behind-the-scenes story. Not surprisingly, it came while the players were playing the Mario Kart game on the Wii system in their hotel.
“Brent Seabrook kept reaching over and slapping Tazer’s [Toews] controller out of his hand. Toews has a bad temper so Seabrook did it twice. Then Seabrook was like, ‘I’m out of here. See you later.’ And then Tazer jumped up and tackled him with like one of those karate moves where you sweep your leg behind the other guy and you throw him down. So he threw him down, jumped on top of him and held him by the collar. And he was yelling, ‘You want to go? You want to do this? You want to do this right now?' He was like, seriously, wanted to fight him. Everybody got quiet because we thought they were really going to fight here. Then they got up and Seabrook threw him to the side and they got out of there.”
“That’s going to happen when you lock these guys up in the same hotel, playing the same video game. Toews got up and called Seabrook a fatty. Yeah, that was a good one.”