Road Warriors: Blackhawks hope to play spoilers in St. Louis

Road Warriors: Blackhawks hope to play spoilers in St. Louis
April 17, 2014, 2:45 pm
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ST. LOUIS – You hear it all the time, probably because it’s said all the time: Game 1 of a playoff series is pivotal.

Well in this series, it’s really, really important, especially to the Chicago Blackhawks – that’s our opinion, anyway. Because for a team that’s starting on the road against a St. Louis Blues squad coming off a bad regular-season finish, a Game 1 victory could set the tone for the rest of the series.

[TONIGHT ON CSN: Game 1 -- Blackhawks at Blues

The Blackhawks are looking to wrestle home-ice advantage away from the Blues, and they could do it with a victory Thursday night at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks obviously did fine away from home last postseason, although their first games away from the United Center weren’t so great. They lost every Game 3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Difference is, they went into that game either up 2-0 or tied 1-1 off the first two games.

Getting down 1-0 to this Blues team could make for one difficult series, so the Blackhawks have to come out quick. Patrick Kane said there can’t be a long feeling-out process.

[RELATED: Blues kicking off series with a clean slate]

“I think maybe in the past we’ve been in a situation where maybe we've been feeling out the other team too much instead of going out and playing our style of game and taking it to them. We can learn from that, especially with the experience in this room,” Kane said. “We can get ourselves back to playing the way we’re used to on the road. It’s been a successful part of our game for a long time, just how well we’ve played on the road. No one’s real worried that we weren’t starting at home.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks have to make their mark quickly.

[MORE: Who's got the edge: Blackhawks vs. Blues]

“Trying to get the momentum in a game or series is important in establishing yourself,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re ready to play the right way. We want to be hard to play against. We want to make sure every shift is going to be important. The game is going to evolve but we know the team over there is going to be playing hard and is going to make it hard on us. We have to be resilient in a lot of ways in getting through it, knowing we can’t be distracted in going to where we need to go to be successful.”

The Blackhawks are in a different position this postseason: they’re not the home-ice team throughout like 2013. But that’s OK with them. They know the game they have to come with, right away, and they’re hoping to have it.

[ALSO: Blackhawks: Role players will prove critical in playoffs]

“Tonight I think we can just feel like we’re almost the underdog and just go out there and try to upset them in their building,” Jonathan Toews said. “They obviously want to get off to a good start in this series playing at home and take advantage of these two games they have at home. And we’ll try to be the spoilers.”