Monday, May 12, 2014
Hawks seek to put away Wild on road
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have developed certain Stanley Cup playoff trends they would like to continue and others they could do without.
The Blackhawks have lost the road opener in nine consecutive series dating back to 2010. During those nine series, they have gone 9-4 on the road in Games 4-7.
Joel Quenneville's Hawks can wrap up their series against the Wild with a win Tuesday in St. Paul.
Chicago looks to continue the latter trend when it enters the Xcel Energy Center to face the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 of their second-round series Tuesday. The Wild, who won Games 3 and 4 at home, trail the Blackhawks in the series 3-2.
One objective the Blackhawks have for Game 6 is to score first and quiet the crowd. Aside from Game 5 in Chicago, the team that has scored first has gone on to win the game.
"Obviously that's the mindset," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. "If we could get some pressure on them in their end, obviously scoring first is going to be huge. We know it's going to be a tough game. Let's make sure we're ready to play our best game."
The Blackhawks were much happier about their play in their 2-1 win in Game 5 on Sunday after being outscored 8-2 in the previous two games, being held to 39 total shots on net in the two games in Minnesota.
Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said intensity will be an important factor on the road in Game 6.
"[We need to] play a little bit harder," Oduya said. "They play a really fast game, and we just have to bring a little bit more effort, I think. I think the first game we played in there, I think we had them somewhere maybe where we could've scored the first goal. In Game 2 there, we weren't really close. They're really good, so we need a better effort.
"I think we know what they're doing. They know pretty much what we're doing too from this point. I think it's just a matter of will and who wants to win the most, who's fresher and who feels better."
The Blackhawks have fared well in games where they can clinch a series under Quenneville, going 11-2 in such games the past six seasons. Their 11th win came when they defeated the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their first-round series this season.
"It's something I wasn't really aware of, but we have a lot of characters in the room that are good in important games, that step up and play their best hockey in games like that," Oduya said. "A lot of good leaders and other guys have been around, have experience. I think that's key in situations like this. A lot of nerves come in, either it's overtime or late in the periods in key situations. That's something that's needed."