The last thing the Chicago Blackhawks need is a road game against an angry opponent.
After embarrassing the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center, the Blackhawks will try to avoid a franchise-record 17th straight road loss when the teams complete a home-and-home series at Nationwide Arena.
Chicago has lost 16 consecutive road games (0-15-0-1) since a 2-1 victory at Nashville on Nov. 7, matching the 1953-54 team for the longest road skid in team history. The Blackhawks, a league-worst 3-18-3-1 away from home, earned their only road point since that win in a 3-2 overtime loss at Vancouver on Nov. 20.
Center Alex Zhamnov didn’t have an answer when asked why his team hasn’t won on the road in 2 1/2 months.
“Maybe no confidence, I don’t know,” Zhamnov said. “A lot of games we lose by one goal. No matter where we play, we have to play 60 minutes, and maybe we don’t have that consistency. The bottom line is nobody can help us. We have to change it.”
Saturday marks the opener of a six-game trip for the Blackhawks, who also face Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto before returning home.
“There’s nothing you can really do,” Blackhawks forward Tyler Arnason said. “You need good results to get that confidence back. If you win, you get your confidence back. That’s the way it goes.”
Beating the Blue Jackets at home wasn’t a problem Thursday for the Blackhawks, who coasted to a 7-0 rout. Craig Anderson stopped 30 shots for his first NHL victory and shutout, and seven different players scored, as Chicago halted a four-game losing streak.
Anderson, a Chicago-area native, had been 0-11-2 in his NHL career.
“I’ve been waiting for this my whole career,” Anderson said. “It was great that it was a shutout.”
The loss didn’t sit well with the Blue Jackets, who had a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) snapped.
“It’s the type of game that you remember the embarrassment, but forget the way you played,” Columbus defenseman Luke Richardson said. “We have them at our place on Saturday.”
The defeat dropped the Blue Jackets to 4-4-3-0 under interim coach Gerard Gallant.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 22): Blackhawks - 36 points, 4th place (tied), 28 PB, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 36 points, 4th place (tied), 28 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Mark Bell and Kyle Calder, 13 goals; Steve Sullivan, 23 assists and 31 points; Scott Nichol, 95 PIM. Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, 28 goals and 34 points; Todd Marchant, 19 assists; Jody Shelley, 129 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 22): Blackhawks - Power play: 11.4 percent (24 for 211), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.2 percent (188 for 218), 7th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.2 percent (34 for 239), 20th. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (152 for 184), 24th.
SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 22; Blackhawks, 7-0. At Chicago, Defenseman Bryan Berard had a productive game, scoring in the first period, registering seven shots on goal and finishing with a plus-three.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 3-18-3-1 on the road; Blue Jackets - 10-10-4-1 at home.