Skip to Main Content

Opening on road no big deal to Blues

Won't be bothered with Stars having home ice in second round

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have played six consecutive series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the higher seed, with opponents forced to take home-ice advantage by winning a game at Scottrade Center.

When the Blues and Dallas Stars open the Western Conference Second Round at American Airlines Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), it will be the Blues chasing home-ice advantage for the first time since the first round in 2009, when they were swept by the Vancouver Canucks.

Playing on the road doesn't intimidate the Blues, who split two games with the Stars in Dallas and won four of their five regular-season games against them.

St. Louis' 25 road wins were second to the San Jose Sharks' 28 among Western Conference teams.

"It shifts a little, I don't want to say the pressure, the focus on you," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "You're there for one thing. You're not going out to the grocery store, people aren't talking to you about the series.

"You kind of sit around with your teammates and focus in on what you have to do. And I think the way we played on the road, we've played a very simple, structured game. We paid attention to our systems. That's one thing I think is really important going into this game tomorrow night, to get right back to our game."

Video: SAP Round 2 Infographics Series Preview: STL DAL

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock was asked if there are any advantages to beginning a series on the road.

"Could I tell you that on Monday? I hope so," Hitchcock said. "We need to win a game. We need to hold home ice and we need to win a game at some period of time in Dallas. Might as well get started here on Friday and see what we can do. I'm sure both teams will be making some significant adjustments [for Game 2 on Sunday], but you've got two teams that are pretty focused and pretty energized. Should make for some great hockey."

The Blues were successful on the road in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks, winning Games 3 and 4 at United Center after splitting Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis. The Blues won the series in seven games.

The visiting team is 27-21 in the playoffs through games Wednesday. But according to Blues captain David Backes, every game has its own merit.

"That's looking at too big a picture," he said. "We've got Game 1 that's on the road. But we've got a 60-minute competition against a good team. We won the first two against Chicago that were in that building.

"We've just got to go in there and have good performances. Regardless of the arena or what the matchup is, win the matchup, win what you're faced with each game, make plays for your teammates and pick each other up. We're a heck of a force to be reckoned with, and that's our plan."

View More