ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The last time the Chicago Blackhawks won the first road game of a postseason series, Antti Niemi was brilliant in goal and Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-winner.
So, yeah, it's been a while.
In fact, it's coming up on four years, and during that span, the Blackhawks have dropped eight consecutive road openers. They will try to snap that streak and take a 3-0 series lead against the Wild on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
"The first game in the other teams' buildings hasn't been very successful for us," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've had some good games, close games, overtime games (and) different kinds of games. Home ice is an advantage, and both teams usually like to take advantage of it. Right off the bat, the home crowd is into it.
"But we've got some momentum here. Let's try to sustain it going into a tough place (Tuesday). It's an ugly stat, and hopefully we can (change) it."
While the initial road games have been an issue, they clearly haven't been backbreakers as the Blackhawks rebounded to win six of those series. That includes the first round this year, when they dropped Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis but advanced in six games.
Considering the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice since they last won a road opener -- May 16, 2010, in San Jose in the Western Conference finals -- it's not a statistic that weighs heavily on the players' minds.
"I had no idea -- I'd never even heard of that stat before," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "But obviously, when you go into another team's building, you have to understand that you've got a lot more things going against you. The crowd can give the other team momentum and energy, so we need to do a good job of preparing and knowing that it's going to be tougher."
Added center Michal Handzus: "You have to weather the storm and push back right away. That was something we probably didn't do as much ... last year and this year."
So instead of worrying about history, the Blackhawks will concentrate on the here and now, which includes a six-game winning streak that has resulted in a 2-0 series lead after taking care of business in Games 1 and 2 at the United Center.
"We are happy where we're at right now after two home games -- we got two wins, which is important," winger Marian Hossa said. "Going to their building, we definitely know it's going to be really hard. They always play extremely well in their building. They proved it against Colorado (in Round 1). We'll try to steal one game and go from there. That's our goal."
The Wild likely don't care about the Hawks' playoff history either. They're concentrating on reversing the momentum after losing two games they believe they could have won.
"There's nothing to save it for now," forward Charlie Coyle said. "We need to get our energy up. We know we still have it. We've just got to prove it. We have the team to do it. We did it last series when things weren't going our way and we changed things around."
Said winger Dany Heatley: "We're excited. This is a real loud building in the playoffs. I know the fans (and) the town is excited to watch (Tuesday). And we've played well here all year. It's important to be good in your rink and we have, and we've got to continue to do that."
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