Winning the Stanley Cup for the 2015-16 has several meanings. Every opponent has now placed a special target on the Blackhawks, and each team will use their opportunity to measure how they shape up against the champions!
Head Coach Joel Quenneville knows there's parity around the NHL, and there are no easy games. The pressure on the Blackhawks will be there from the opening faceoff to the closing buzzer.
Last season, the Blackhawks registered 24 victories each at home and on the road. Going into the third period with a lead, they were perfect during the regular season (25-0-0) and carried that momentum throughout the playoffs. The Blackhawks were 35-9-2 when they scored first. They were 9-3 in shootouts, while posting a 22-13-6 mark in one-goal wins.
The Blackhawks will have one fewer set of back-to-back games this campaign (13) compared to last season, although nine of them are on the road. The Blackhawks swept 10 back-to-backs and split the other four last season. The first set will be games two and three with the Islanders in October, while the annual November road swing has two tough sets in Calgary and Vancouver followed by Anaheim and Los Angeles.
January will provide three challenges, starting with back-to-back games against Pittsburgh. Later in the month, the road tests include Original Six matches in Montreal and Toronto, plus the following week in Tampa Bay and Florida.
March features another road battle against Boston and Detroit, before the Blackhawks wind back up in Calgary and Vancouver.
The Blackhawks have four sets of four straight home games, while the November road trip features six. There are also two other four-game road swings at the end of January and March.
For the third straight year, the Blackhawks will again play outdoors when they meet the Wild in Minnesota on Feb. 21.
As we eagerly await the drop of the puck on Oct. 7 against the Rangers, the Blackhawks’ aim remains "ONE GOAL!"