- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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If you've been to a few playoff games at the United Center in Chicago over the past few years, you know it feels like it's 1-0 for the Blackhawks before the puck even drops thanks to anthem singer Jim Cornelison. If you've been living under a rock the last few years, here's what I'm talking about -- this anthem comes from Game 2 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals in Chicago.
Home-ice advantage? You better believe it.
The days of the nightly line brawls are long gone, but Philadelphia remains arguably the NHL's most intimidating place for a visiting team to play, especially come playoff time. Today's Flyers team is more about skill than brawn compared to their Broad Street Bullies days of the 1970s, but the fans remain an imposing lot.
Well, you can't exactly ignore the team that broke the NHL's all-time mark with 23 straight home victories, right? And Joe Louis Arena is one of the few old barns left. It has unique characteristics, not the least of which is the tradition of throwing an octopus on the ice during the anthem. You better believe visiting players pay notice. The fans are right on you in this old building, and the Wings take full advantage of that atmosphere.
Well, I guess you can ask the Vancouver Canucks to vouch for whether playing in Boston is any fun. The Canucks were destroyed in three games in Beantown during the 2011 Cup finals, which reinforced what a tough place it is to play in especially come playoff time. The Bruins are the NHL's toughest, most rugged team and that meshes well with a New England crowd that likes its hockey that way. All of which makes for an electric, and intimidating, atmosphere.
OK, this is the wild card on the list, we know that. But this is among the loudest rinks in the league come playoff time. I mean, the fans here throw catfish on the ice! A surprising choice perhaps to have made this list, but the Preds love playing in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena and the place is going to rock this postseason.
Pierre LeBrun reviews five teams with the best home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs.