Blackhawks need to find answers, goals on the road vs. Predators


The Blackhawks know what they'll get when they head to Bridgestone Arena. It can be a hostile place, although enough of their own fans still get into the building. Still, it's always a tricky place in which to play. Couple that with the Blackhawks' 0-2 first-round series hole and the challenge of the road gets even more daunting.

But the road was a successful place during the regular season. Considering the situation in which they're in, the Blackhawks absolutely need to find answers – and goals – on the road that they didn't find at home through the first two games. 

The Blackhawks won a franchise-tying best 24 games on the road this season, best in the West and second in the league only to the New York Rangers (27). They'll need to replicate that same work starting on Monday, when they face the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of their series. It's been tough sledding through two games for the Blackhawks, who have been frustrated on the ice and held off the scoresheet.

So, let's try this show on the road.

"Yeah, we had a great season during the regular season on the road and obviously we need to find some new energy," Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "In these last two games wasn't good enough in a lot of different ways. It's a positive thing to go on the road now knowing we can play well there and win games. We're all excited for the opportunity."

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This isn't the first time the Blackhawks have gone into an 0-2 hole in a series and fought back, either to take it to seven or win it. They lost their first two games to the St. Louis Blues in 2014 before winning the next four for the series. But losing two games at the United Center, and the way they lost, was very surprising. When the Blackhawks hit the road they get into simple-game mode, and maybe that helps right now. Considering the current trend, it can't hurt.

"Yeah, I think we got to take that into tomorrow's game and be ready right from puck drop," Brent Seabrook said of the road success. "Obviously things haven't gone the way we liked them in Chicago. So we gotta come out and put it all on the line tomorrow night."

Again, you have to be careful in assuming what happens in the regular season will reflect on what happens in the playoffs. The current Blackhawks bear little resemblance to the team that racked up 109 points. The Blackhawks need something, anything to spark them. Increased puck possession. More shots near the net. Score that first goal. Score any goal. The Blackhawks had great regular-season success on the road. They absolutely need that to happen again immediately.

"Yeah, I think they've been playing really well here in our house. For them I think it's a big one to get the first goal as well. They've been playing really well with the lead and out-battling us, and a great job with the ending," Hjalmarsson said. "We've got to try to get that first one and keep playing like we've been doing on the road all season long."

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