Last year's 2-2-2 showing was considered a huge success, but the Hawks must do better this time and they got off to a good start with a 3-2 shootout win at Phoenix.
Five games still remain, however. On Thursday they face Dallas, a team they walloped 5-2 at the United Center on Oct. 31. Then it's on to Toronto, followed by a brief return home, followed by games at San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.
New coach Joel Quenneville says, "The trip will be good for us."
It will, at least, help him get to know his players better. They'll be severely tested with the team's bad history on the swing always in the back of their minds.
The Hawks went into the trip with a 1-3-1 road record, and they'll have to play better to make the trip a success.
BLACKHAWKS 3, COYOTES 2 (SO): The Hawks were 1-4 in shootouts until Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp converted in this one and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped the first two Phoenix shooters. Kris Versteeg and Sharp had the Hawks' goals in regulation time.