Fresh off ending a franchise-record 19-game road losing streak, the Chicago Blackhawks look for more success away from home as they continue their six-game trip against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
The Blackhawks went 0-18-0-1 away from the United Center before snapping the fourth-longest road losing streak in NHL history with a 5-3 victory at Calgary on Friday.
Chicago hadn’t won on the road since a 2-1 decision at Nashville on Nov. 7, and had earned just one point during the slide in a 3-2 overtime loss at Vancouver on Nov. 20.
“It’s been frustrating this year especially on the road,” said Blackhawks left wing Mark Bell, who had a goal and two assists Friday. “But this is a big weight off our shoulders and now we don’t have to talk about this streak anymore.”
“Through this whole thing, we’ve tried to stay positive and stick together as a team,” Chicago defenseman Nathan Dempsey said. “We weren’t ever pointing fingers, we were losing as a team, and when we did win, we were winning as a team.”
Chicago coach Brian Sutter will be coaching his 1,000th NHL game, and 218th with the Blackhawks on Sunday. He will become the ninth coach to reach the 1,000 mark.
The Canadiens were blanked 1-0 by the Boston Bruins on Saturday, losing for the fourth time in the last five games. Montreal, which was 8-1-2-1 before the slide, lost despite outshooting the Bruins 34-16.
The Canadiens have scored just four goals in the last five games.
“We just need to find a way to score the big goal like we were doing when we were winning on a regular basis,” said Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore, who made 15 saves Saturday. “Naturally we can be happy with our effort today; we provoked a lot of chances. It’s just that we need to come up big when it matters.”