The schedule says the Blackhawks' two-week, seven-game trip starts Tuesday night in Edmonton. The Hawks said it started Sunday night at the United Center.
Wanting to hit the road on a high note, the Hawks fought their way through a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators before 13,310.
Steve Sullivan, continuing his hot streak, scored a pair of goals, including a short-handed breakaway. Boris Mironov's dump-in took a crazy hop off the glass and went into an empty net and Alex Zhamnov scored from just inside the blue line.
That was enough for a Hawks team that was outshot 30-19 and had to kill off six power plays. They're unbeaten in their last six (4-0-2).
"What a tough game to play in," defenseman Lyle Odelein said. "[Nashville] is tough to play against. They were right in the game up to the end."
Nashville has just two wins, but they were against Detroit and Colorado. The script is usually the same for the Predatorswork hard, can't score.
Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun, who came in with a .915 save percentage and 2.52 goals-against average despite a 1-5-1 record, had a night he'd rather forget.
Sullivan started the scoring early in the first with a wraparound that snuck between Vokoun and the goalpost.
Nearly three minutes later on a power play, Vokoun went to play Mironov's dump-in behind the net. He took his eye off the puck and didn't see it hit a metal post separating the glass panes, kick out and roll into the net.
"I've always been careful here," Hawks goalie Jocelyn Thibault said of pucks up on the glass.
In the preseason, against Nashville, Thibault was victimized by a similar crazy hop.
"Whenever [the puck] is on the glass, I never go out to play the puck," he said.
After Zhamnov's long shot slipped through Vokoun's pads midway through the second period, Mike Dunham came on in relief.
After missing chance after chance early in the season, Sullivan has five goals in his last six games and leads the team with seven goals.
"I was getting chances, they were there," Sullivan said. "They just weren't going in. I got lucky on the first one [Sunday]. I just threw it across the crease. You have to stick with it and not get frustrated, but get mad."
Sutter seems to have found a good combination in Sullivan, Zhamnov and now Eric Daze. Sullivan and Daze played together all last season with Michael Nylander as the center.
"It makes it a little easier knowing where that other winger is going to be," Sullivan said. "With us having the opportunity to play with Alex, who is excellent at seeing the ice, I don't think I've played with a better passer."
The Hawks now pack their bags as the elephants, clowns and the rest of the circus takes over the United Center for the next two weeks.
"You know the circus comes in November, so you have to get used to it," Sullivan said. "You have to be mentally tough."
Or as Sutter said: "It's time to go."
hawks 4, predators 2