2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Road Teams Finding Stride After Early Home Domination

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2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Road Teams Finding Stride After Early Home Domination
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Road teams in the second round of the 2014 NHL postseason are finally finding success in the win column.

After a first round filled with happy arenas of hometown fans but extreme predictability in the winner of each game, white-clad visitors have taken charge of the month of May.

Road teams have won 11 of the last 18 games in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, including nine of 16 since the second round began on May 1.

Such a strong record contrasts sharply with the first quarter of this spring's postseason, when home teams posted a whopping 32-14 record through the 46 games from April 16 to April 30.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Teams such as the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks have been at the front of the visitors' takeover. Both won their first-round series on the road (the Kings in Game 7 in San Jose, the Ducks in Game 6 in Dallas) to advance into a second-round series with each other. The road teams have won all three games so far in the Battle of L.A. as the Kings cling to a 2-1 series lead.

The visitors have won four of five contests so far in the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. The Pens' 3-0 triumph in Game 2 marked the only occasion that the home fans went home content; Pittsburgh then swept Games 3 and 4 in the Big Apple, only to have the Rangers claim revenge, 5-1, Friday night in western Pennsylvania.

Road teams have both overtimes to date in the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens series, with the Habs stunning the Bruins in Game 1 overtime and then themselves falling in Game 4 overtime at the Bell Centre. 

In fact, the visitors have scored a walk-off win in the last five (and seven of the last eight) overtime games league-wide.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Yet the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks are doing their best to break the trend. Both clubs remain undefeated at home in these playoffs. The Wild leveled the series at 2-2 on Friday and improved their record to 5-0 at Xcel Energy Center. Sunday, they'll head back for Game 5 at the United Center, where the 'Hawks are also 5-0.

Home teams maintain a 39-25 combined record—a 60.9 winning percentage—in the postseason as a whole.

That percentage stands as a significant drop-off from 2013, however, when home teams won a remarkable 68.6 percent (more than two-thirds) of games in last year's postseason. Oddly, road teams actually won a 54.7 percent majority of games in the 2012 postseason.

Host clubs have won 55.9 percent of all playoff games dating back to 2010.

But the road warriors of 2014 are out to change that pattern—and, recently, they're succeeding.

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