The home plan was simple: win both games, truly take advantage of the home ice. Now that they’re hitting the road, the Chicago Blackhawks want to bring that home dominance to the road.
A 3-0 lead would be a beautiful thing.
[LIVE STREAM: Game 3: Hawks vs. Wild at 2:00 p.m.]
The Chicago Blackhawks will look to put a stranglehold on their Western Conference quarterfinal series when they play the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn., on Sunday afternoon. Dave Bolland and Ray Emery (lower body) skated today and both made the trip to Minnesota; but coach Joel Quenneville ruled both out for Sunday’s game. Regarding when they will play, Quenneville said, “we’ll get a better indication moving forward.”
The Blackhawks couldn’t have gotten a much better start. Even with a so-so start in Game 1 they triumphed en route to a 2-0 series edge.
[MORE: Double Down: Hawks take Game 2]
Starting on the road like they finished at home is the desired goal.
“It’s important, but we’ve got our home ice (advantage) right now,” Bickell said. “Going into the last game we wanted a good start, and we got that. We just carried the momentum during the game.”
And as for that 3-0 lead? Well, it beats the alternative.
“It’s much better than losing, obviously,” Brandon Saad said with a smile. “But to go up 3-0 would be huge for us.”
The United Center atmosphere was understandably raucous through the first two games. They expect Xcel Energy Center to have the same feel to it.
“(The Wild) haven’t been in the playoffs last couple of years, so they’re going to be excited,” Bickell said. “We just have to carry the momentum from home to on the road.”
The Blackhawks have been good wherever they’ve played this season, and they enter Sunday’s game with a 18-4-2 regular-season road record. The Blackhawks were back to their brand of hockey on Friday night, a 5-2 victory that included two goals from Patrick Sharp and Michael Frolik. They know how to handle themselves in road games and they’ll try to apply those things on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m sure they’re excited to see the Wild back in the playoff mix. We’ve been in some hostile environments before… but I’m sure we’ll be ready for the challenge,” Patrick Kane said. “Usually in those games, and on the road in a hostile environment, you want to maintain the first 10 minutes and just outwork the opponent.”
The Blackhawks did that in Game 2 and reached their first goal of making home ice count. Taking that to the road, and taking some games from the Wild in its home building, is the next goal.
“I think it’ll be huge. Obviously every game is,” Duncan Keith said. “But to be able to go up 3-0 would definitely give us a big advantage in the series.”