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First-place ‘Hawks ‘loved’ Circus Trip, says Quenneville


On Saturday, Chicago finished its annual “Circus Trip” -- a two-week stretch when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus overtake the United Center -- in style, beating Phoenix 5-2 to close with a sparkling 6-1-0 record.

On Sunday, ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said the 13-day, seven-city tour was better than he could’ve imagined.

“We loved the trip,” Quenneville told the Chicago Herald. “We loved the consistency, the contribution we were getting across the board.

“The consistency is what we’re appreciating, and the energy and the enthusiasm in the locker room and on the bench is as good as we’ve seen here, so it’s been very positive.”

Some takeaways from the Circus Trip:

-- Chicago improved to an NHL-best 11-3-1 away from home.

-- The 6-1-0 finish was the club’s best in 10 years.

-- After starting the trip with a 5-1 loss in Denver, the ‘Hawks rattled off six straight wins Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Dallas and Phoenix, outscoring those opponents 22-10.

-- Duncan Keith caught fire, scoring at a career-best pace while earning NHL Third Star of the Week honors.

-- After the loss to Colorado, Corey Crawford stopped 110 of 116 shots (.948 save percentage) while Antti Raanta stepped in stopped 51 of 55 shots (.927 save percentage), earning his first NHL win.

-- Heading into Monday night’s action, Chicago sits atop the league with a 20-4-4 record and 44 points, three clear of second-place San Jose (the Sharks do have two games in hand.)

All in all, pretty good trip. Just ask Q.

“We like our team, and it’s been a very positive start to our season and great road trip,” he said. “We’re very happy in all aspects of our team game, and we can touch on everything.