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Chicago's Barn Big Advantage Against Amerks

Tardif: one of harding buildings to play in
The Amerks road trip to Chicago this weekend will be their toughest of the season and not just because their season is on the line. 

Allstate Arena puts on a large fireworks show before every game. The atmosphere and electricity in the building gives it an NHL-level feel. 

"We're going into one of, if not the, toughest buildings to play in," said Amerks winger Jamie Tardif. "I've never played there in a playoff game, but I can only imagine it's a lot more exciting... a lot more energy in the rink in playoff time. So, we have to be prepared for it."

The fireworks show is one of a kind. It's literally in the building and the smoke often lingers for a good portion of the first period. 

"The fireworks are so loud and they're right above you," said head coach Chadd Cassidy. "You almost have to wear earplugs on the bench because it's quite a show."

"When you come out for the national anthem, there's still debris... and it gets in your eyes a little bit," added center Phil Varone. "But, we can't let that distract us."

The Amerks need two wins in three games at Chicago to advance past round one. Even if the building is unique, the formula to succeed there is not. 

"Anytime you're on the road, especially in that building, you've got to have a good road mentality. You gotta play real simple early in the game. We want to be aggressive, but we want to be sure we're making strong plays and not give them a lot of momentum early. And then stick to our game plan," Cassidy said. 

The Amerks did end their 10-game playoff losing streak on Saturday which means, for the first time in three years, they will head to game three of a playoff series without fear of being swept. 

However, most of the Amerks think the streak should have ended Friday in Game 1 and are frustrated they don't lead the Wolves 2-0. The one single win is of little consequence, even if it is their first in the postseason since 2010. 

"It's not a championship," Varone said. "It's one step, but we still have lots of steps to go."
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