Hawks confident when they take show on road
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com June 2, 2013 11:00PM
Updated: June 3, 2013 12:23AM
Now comes the hard part for the Blackhawks.
The Western Conference finals moves to Staples Center, where the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings are 7-0 in the playoffs.
Though the Kings thrived on the road en route to their Stanley Cup championship in 2012 — going 10-1 — home ice has been a big part of their run to the conference finals. They were down 2-0 to the Blues in the opening round and stayed in the series by winning 1-0 and 4-3 in Games 3 and 4 at Staples Center and clinched the series with a 2-1 victory in Game 6.
Home ice was a savior against the Sharks in the second round. The Kings won all four home games — 2-0, 4-3, 3-0 and 2-1 in Game 7.
It’s a daunting challenge for the Hawks, but one they feel they’re up to. The Hawks have been the best playoff road team over the last four seasons (14-10, just ahead of the Kings’ 13-10). Perhaps more significant, they have won at least one road game in every series since the 2010 playoffs and in 11 of 12 playoff series since the 2009 season.
The Hawks are 2-3 on the road in the playoffs this season. They beat the Wild 3-0 in Game 4 at the Xcel Energy Center. They beat the Red Wings 4-3 in Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena after losing 3-1 and 2-0 in Games 3 and 4 on the road.
It’s that Game 6 victory against the Red Wings that fuels the Hawks’ belief that they can handle any challenge. They trailed 2-1 going into the third period before scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes to win an elimination game.
‘‘It says a lot about the character of our group,’’ Hawks forward Patrick Sharp said. ‘‘We know we can dig in when need be and score in desperate times when our backs are against the wall.’’