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The Hawks have outright lost only two games at home this season. (The National Hockey League gives teams credit for a tie if they lose in overtime or an ensuing shootout.) Yet their last two home wins had to be salvaged in extra time, and sandwiched in between was a shootout loss to Phoenix in which they had to come from a 3-0 deficit to tie it. That came after they really stank up the joint against the Coyotes in their return home from the circus trip.
The Hawks have certainly seemed to be more focused on the road of late, and coach Joel Quenneville was asked after this morning's pregame skate if that was a problem. "I'm not sure. I think we've had good stretches at starts of games. The last game had a great third period," he said. "It seems like you're always in a better spot when you get off to a better start. It seems like the road games happen to be better in that area. I think there's always a point in time at home when we get going. But I'd certainly like a better start."
So the pressure's on—i.e., on Jim Cornelison and the Hawks' fans to fire up the team with their raucous rendition of the national anthem. Anaheim is one of the lesser teams in the league, so it should be like shooting Ducks on the wing—at least to start.