Tune in at 4 p.m. as NBC Sports Chicago airs Game 1 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals
With the Conference Quarterfinals behind them, the Blackhawks set their sights on the Central Division-rival Detroit Red Wings for the second round of the 2013 playoffs.
"That was one of the toughest and also one of the most amazing series I was a part of," recalled Marian Hossa, a former Red Wing who was facing his former team in the postseason for the first time since a run to the Stanley Cup Final with them in 2009. "A great team on the other side, and we had one of the best teams because in a short season, we'd been able to keep winning so many hockey games."
Despite being four seasons removed from his lone campaign in the Motor City, it was a special series for Hossa. He knew he'd be the brunt of the fans' ire in Detroit, while also having seen first-hand the Hall of Fame talent the Blackhawks were set to face in what was to become one of the greatest series in team history.
"Facing the strong lineup of future Hall of Famers, I said 'This is going to be fun,'" he said looking back on Wednesday. "Beating (Henrik) Zetterberg or (Pavel) Datsyuk, that's not easy and it's a challenge I kind of liked."
"I knew when I was in Detroit there was going to be some extra booing going on," he added. "Sometimes that gives you extra fuel because you prepare for that and you want to hold the puck so the arena goes more wild. You know you're doing something good with the puck when they start booing."
It worked as Hossa scored twice and added three assists - tied for the team scoring lead in the best-of-seven series - including a crucial two-point night in Detroit in Game 6 to force the winner-take-all showdown in Chicago.
The Blackhawks' run to the 2013 Stanley Cup continues with Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals airing Friday at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago.