Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Duncan Keith embraces Boston trip

CHICAGO – Brent Seabrook knows Duncan Keith as well as anyone on the Blackhawks.

When the defensive duo first teamed up as roommates on road trips with the Hawks, Seabrook was 20 years old and Keith was 22. Seven seasons later, they still carpool to the airport and back again whenever the Hawks are on the road.

“I think we just grew up together,” Seabrook said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good understanding of how each other are and how each other thinks.”

Like a married couple, Seabrook and Keith continue to learn new things about one another. Seabrook widened his eyes in surprise upon hearing about Keith’s recent revelation.

Keith used to cheer for you-know-who.

“Growing up, as a little kid, I was always a big Boston Bruin fan,” Keith said with a chuckle. “For me, it’s going to be pretty neat to go back there and play in the Stanley Cup finals.”

The stakes could not be any higher. The Hawks and Bruins are tied, at 1, in the Stanley Cup Final with Games 3 and 4 slated for Monday and Wednesday at Boston’s TD Garden.

Keith grew up in Ontario, not Massachusetts, but he had a legitimate hockey reason for supporting the Bruins. What future Norris Trophy-winning defenseman wouldn’t want to root for one of the best blue-liners of all time?

“I don’t want to make a big deal about that,” Keith said. “It’s a long time ago. But Ray Bourque was always one of my favorite players. I think he’s a pretty awesome defenseman.”

Fourth time’s a charm: So far, Game 3 has not been kind to the Hawks in the playoffs.

The Hawks are 0-3 in the third game of a series, including losses to the Minnesota Wild, the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said a better mental approach was necessary heading into Game 3 in Boston.

“We played pretty well in Detroit when it was 1-1 in the series,” Quenneville told reporters Sunday after arriving in Boston. “We had a 2-0 lead in Minnesota.  In L.A., maybe we were comfortable with the situation coming off two nice wins.  ...

“We're not happy with the ending [to Game 2]. We have to be better.”

Long road ahead: It’s tough to believe that nine years have passed since the last time the teams in the Stanley Cup Final split the first two games of the series.

The Hawks and Bruins split the opening pair of games for the first time since 2004, when the Calgary Flames won Game 1 and the Tampa Bay Lightning responded to win Game 2. The Lightning, who had home-ice advantage, eventually won the series in seven games.

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