At one point last season, the best team in the NHL took the ice for a game at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. It did not seem terribly odd to the Blackhawks that they were not this best team. It did seem odd to the Hawks that the Wild decided to make sure everyone knew they were.

"We were dying laughing last year, we come in the building and they introduced them as the No. 1 team in the NHL," Hawks winger Viktor Stalberg said. "I never heard a team do that before."

It is time for another visit for the Hawks, and there will be no proclamations from the public-address guy unless he's overcome by a swell of Minnesota nice. The visitors are off to the best start in franchise history, and as of Wednesday they're off on the so-called "Ice Show" trip, and the opportunity is actually just as glaring as the challenge.

By the end of it, the Hawks will have cleared 10 of 24 road games for the season. Even a decent showing, complemented by the sizzling 6-0 start to date, could create a very comfortable cushion with the most taxing stretch of the schedule behind them.

"You want to play the same way, home or away," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.