No place like road for visiting teams early in NHL playoffs

Home teams have not fared well early in the NHL playoffs. Road teams won six of eight series openers, including all four in the Western Conference, the first time each of those things has happened at the start of the postseason since 2003.

Every road team won Game 1 Tuesday night, with at Toronto, the New Jersey, Vegas and defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado.

“Maybe nerves, underdog teams, something to prove has a little bit to do with it,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “A little chip on their shoulder.”

New Jersey’s Lindy Ruff said as a coach he sometimes prefers starting on the road to avoid distractions. Without that benefit, he and the Devils will try Thursday night to avoid an 0-2 hole before the series crosses the river into Manhattan. The Leafs, Golden Knights and Avalanche face similar challenges.