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Friday, May 23, 2014
Blackhawks not intimidated playing on road

By Scott Powers



LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Blackhawks have a recent history of disappointing the Los Angeles Kings in their own building.

The Blackhawks hope to add to it as their Western Conference finals series with the Kings travels to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4. The Kings stole home-ice advantage from the Blackhawks by winning Game 2 in Chicago.

“Well, we definitely need a road win,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday. “We’re going into a building that I’m sure they’re going to be pretty exciting, as well. We've had some success over the last few years. I think our team knows what’s at stake when we go in there. We just want that first game is what we're looking at. Hopefully we can capture one.”

The Blackhawks’ recent success in Los Angeles began when they quickly extinguished the Kings’ banner-raising celebration at the start of the 2013 season. The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back.

The Blackhawks’ next win at the Staples Center was even more significant. A lot was going in the Kings’ favor prior to playing the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals last season. The Kings had won Game 3 and had cut the Blackhawks’ series lead to 2-1. The Kings were also perfect at home in the playoffs up to that point and were riding an overall 15-game home winning streak.

That all came to a halt when Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and helped defeat the Kings 3-2 in Game 4. The Blackhawks closed out the series in Game 5.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said it won’t be easy to win in Los Angeles again.

“It's a tough building to play in,” Keith said. “They play well at home. I think over the years we've enjoyed going out there. At the same time, we know it's a tough building to play in and we're going to need to be good. Obviously they got the crowd behind them, like any home team would. You have a disadvantage. But I think as a team over the years we've took that on and embraced that challenge.”

If the Blackhawks continue on the path of their recent trends, they're likely to lose Game 3 in the Staples Center but win at some point in L.A. The Blackhawks haven’t won their first road game of a playoff series in their last nine series dating to the 2010 playoffs. On the other hand, they have won at least one road playoff game in their 12 series.

The Blackhawks also aren’t overreacting after one loss. As Quenneville noted, they've been in worse situations in the playoffs in just the last two seasons.

“We’ve been in some tough spots,” Quenneville said. “Look at last year, we’re down 2-1 to Boston, down 3-1 at Detroit, [this season] down 2-0 to St. Louis, 2-2 in Minnesota series. It’s just 1-1. There’s a lot of hockey left in this series against two really good teams, a lot to be decided.”