Chicago Sun-Times

Blackhawks look for first win at Carolina since 1998

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By Ben Meyer-Abbott bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
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@BMACST

The Blackhawks are looking to change a bit of trivia Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes and continue their hot start to the season.

The Hawks have gotten at least a point out of their last seven games, going 5-0-2 since an opening night loss to the Dallas Stars. But the team has never won at the RBC Center since the Hurricanes started playing in the building opened in 1999 and hasn't won a game on the road against Carolina since 1998.

"That's an interesting tidbit," Jonathan Toews said after the morning skate. "Hopefully we'll change that."

The Hawks made a change yesterday at practice with Marian Hossa and Andrew Brunette swapping places on the teams' first and second power play units.

Hossa is now on the top unit with Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp.

"Sometimes when you don't feel a flow and things aren't clicking 100 percent you've got to change things a little bit, and that never hurts," Toews said. "We've got a lot of skill out there. One way or another we're going to make things happen eventually. We'll just keep working at it and not get frustrated and we know we can be much better."

While the Hawks haven't won at Carolina since the Clinton Administration, Toews, Kane and Duncan Keith were members of Team Lidstrom that won the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at the RBC Center.

Joel Quenneville, assistant coach Mike Haviland and Sharp were a part of Team Staal, which lost the game 11-10. But Sharp still has fond memories of the building, having been named the game's MVP.

"To play in my first [All-Star Game] here was a big thrill," Sharp said. "It was one of those games where that award could have gone to a bunch of people and I was just fortunate enough to get it."

Quenneville said Corey Crawford is expected to start in goal Friday, despite Ray Emery boasting a 5-0-0 record, including two shutouts and a 0.73 GAA against the Hurricanes.

"We're expecting a fast game to be honest with you to start, especially looking at their lineup," Kane said. "We know they're going to be pretty fast and play an up and down game. Well take the same approach as every game. We'll limit their chances first and create our transition and try to capitalize on their mistakes."

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Well, they will have a lot left in the tank for tomorrow night's game against Columbus. Emery in goal? Trick or treat.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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