Blackhawks know Wild is a dangerous team at Xcel Energy Center


Down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series isn't the way the Minnesota Wild envisioned its second round playoff matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks starting.

But it is what it is, and Minnesota has a chance to turns things around tonight with Game 3 at Xcel Energy Center.

Fun fact, Wild fans: The Blackhawks, since 2010, are 2-9 in their first road game of a series, including eight straight losses, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

‘‘Aware of it,’’ Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said of the ugly road starts. ‘‘We’ve been pretty good on the road, but the first game in the other team’s building hasn’t been very successful for us. We’ve had some good games, close games, overtime games, different kind of games.’’

The numbers don't look good – the eight straight losses and all – but Chicago has been very competitive on the road this postseason.

In three road games against Blues in the first round, Chicago lost in triple overtime, lost in overtime and won Game 6 in overtime.

Chicago forward Michael Handzus says playing in Minnesota is "always a tough game" and they'll have to "weather the storm."

Perhaps the biggest benefit for the Wild will be the opportunity to take advantage of the last line change, meaning head coach Mike Yeo won't have to pit his top line of Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle against Chicago's top line, which held Minnesota's big guns in check in Games 1 and 2.

Even the Blackhawks' website admits the first two games were evenly played, despite Chicago outscoring the Wild 9-3. The ability to gain a competitive edge with Parise, Coyle and Granlund could be the key to Minnesota turning the series around.

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