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Blackhawks vs Red Wings

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Blackhawks vs Red Wings - 2013 SCP Conference Semifinals

Red Wings embrace challenge of facing Blackhawks

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

It's odd to hear the Detroit Red Wings sound like underdogs, but that's what happens to seventh-seeded teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Rather than the usual role of favorites, the victorious Red Wings – the Western Conference's seventh seed – flew home after eliminating the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night knowing they'd be right back to underdogs just as quickly as their plane's tires touched ground in Detroit.

Just that quickly, the page was turned on their upset of the second-seeded Ducks in Game 7 of an exciting Western Conference Quarterfinals series. Just that quickly, they shifted to the next challenge: facing the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the conference semifinals, a team they didn't beat in four games this year.

Blackhawks shrug off recent success vs. Red Wings

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It's the organization they're patterned after, the organization they're measured against, and now the Chicago Blackhawks will play the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs once again.

Detroit's 3-2 victory Sunday in Game 7 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Anaheim Ducks cemented the matchup. It also gave hockey fans a renewal of one of the NHL's oldest rivalries in the postseason for the first time since the 2009 Western Conference Finals, a series won by Detroit in five games.

The four years between then and now might seem distant, but it's still fresh in the minds of Blackhawks players who were around to experience that 2009 defeat. Now, those players would like some revenge -- starting with captain Jonathan Toews, who was just 20 and in his second NHL season.

Under-the-radar Keith not unappreciated in Chicago

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane was nearly done talking with reporters after a practice on Saturday afternoon when he was asked about Duncan Keith, the Chicago Blackhawks' top defenseman.

Duncan Keith
Defense - CHI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 5
SOG: 12 | +/-: 5
The question was about how Keith continues to go somewhat overlooked when the conversation turns to the NHL's best at the position. Names like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Erik Karlsson roll right off the tongue, while Keith only seems to make national headlines while he's embroiled in some sort of controversy.

"He's one of those guys you kind of take for granted because he's back there every night and does pretty much the same thing," Kane said. "Whether it's shutting down the other team, or creating offensive chances, or jumping in the rush, or how fast he skates, or how good he is defensively with his stick … he does so many things that you can name and really is huge for our team."

It's true that Keith's numbers have dipped since winning the Norris Trophy in 2010, the same season Chicago ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought, but he's still in the prime of his career at 29 and is still the Blackhawks' top blueliner. He also remains one of the best in the League, even if he does fly under the radar a bit.

Blackhawks vs. Red Wings series preview

Brian Hunter and Corey Masisak - Staff Writers


 Seed: 136-7-577 Pts.


 Seed: 724-16-856 Pts.
The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks have had one of the best rivalries in the NHL, dating back nearly to the dawn of the League. They'll get to renew that rivalry one more time in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The last time the teams met in the postseason was the 2009 Western Conference Finals, which the Red Wings won in five games. That Red Wings group was the defending Stanley Cup champion, while the Blackhawks were growing into the group that would win the Stanley Cup a year later.

This time, it's the Blackhawks who are the favorites, while the Red Wings are seen as the plucky underdogs.

This will be the 16th time the teams have met in the postseason, and with realignment next season moving Detroit to the Eastern Conference, it could be their last matchup for a while.

Bolland looking forward to return for Blackhawks

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Center Dave Bolland and goaltender Ray Emery are expected to dress for Game 1 of the Chicago Blackhawks' Western Conference Semifinal series whenever it begins next week.

After missing the entire five-game Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Minnesota Wild, each with a lower-body injury, Bolland and Emery participated without restrictions in a practice the Blackhawks held Saturday.

Chicago will face either the San Jose Sharks or the Detroit Red Wings, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will be happy to have more lineup options available regardless of the opposition, especially with Bolland.

"We love tough decisions and having [Bolland] back is something that … if it had been Game 6, he would've been playing," Quenneville said. "We'll visit with [where he fits] in the next couple of days, but we like having [Bolland] back in the lineup. It gives us a lot of options."

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