One Minute Remaining: Road Warriors
One of Joel Quenneville's main goals this season was to regain home-ice dominance, which paid off in 2010 with the Stanley Cup when the Blackhawks chalked up a 29-8-4 record at the United Center. The mark was just one short of the all-time franchise record set in 1970-71, along with a new high of 23 road victories.
Last season the Hawks maintained a respectable road mark of 20 wins, which ranks sixth best in team history, but at the UC it dipped to 24-17-0. As they start a two-week road trip, the Hawks have garnered 16 out of 20 points with an impressive 7-1-2 record at home. On their way to the Cup in 2010, the Hawks finished November with a 16-6-3 mark, which included an eight-game win streak.
Going back to the 1961 championship season, the Hawks were 10-7-7 after November. (In a six-team league, there was no west coast swing since Chicago was the most western city in the NHL. The now traditional six-game road trip in November didn't actually begin until 1973.
When the Hawks return Nov. 29 to the United Center, they will have 19 home dates and only eight road games until they go on a rough nine-game road stint beginning Jan. 31 in Vancouver. Coach Quennville knows that special teams and balanced play among the four lines will be vital to success on the road. Meanwhile, the goalie tandem of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have been solid in the nets.
Hopefully when they return home, they will have maintained their strong position in the tight Western Conference standings.