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Hawks take the road mentality back home

It is an undeniable truth that the Blackhawks have held their ground when on another team's ice.

One of the most remarkable changes from last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs is that home ice advantage is no longer an actual advantage. The gap between home records and away records has been slowly narrowing leaving the real advantage to the team with the most heart and talent.

In the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated in the third round with a home record of 6-2 (wins-losses) and an away record of 3-6. Elimination from the playoffs last season was due to the team's inability to win on the road.

But the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs could not look any more opposite in comparison. So far in the 2010 Playoffs, the Hawks have a home record of 3-3 and a surprising away record of 7-1.

Taken this in consideration, it is reported by espnchicago.com that the team will be checking into a hotel prior to Friday's game 3 against the San Jose Sharks. The decision to avoid 'distractions' on game day could make all the difference in the world.

San Jose Shark's home ice is known to be one of the hardest and loudest building in the NHL, but the Chicago Blackhawks won two straight in San Jose to give themselves a series lead 2-0.

Goaltender Antti Niemi continues to perform outstanding as a rookie making 69 saves in two games. Dustin Byfuglien continues to be provide the Chicago offense with a goalie screen, and his agitation of goalies is becoming one of the team's most effective strategies after eliminating the Canucks two years in a row with this strategy.

For Friday's game 3, the Chicago Blackhawks must avoid taking too many penalties, and not allow the frustrated Sharks to instigate fights and even more penalties.

Also watch for the line changes on the fly as both coaches have made efforts to match up players and tried to make the Blackhawks top players ineffective.

If the Blackhawks can capture their away game success and bring it back to Chicago, then they are only six games away from hoisting the cup.


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