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Teams to take advantage of extra days off

by Brian Hedger

Neither team plans to stick around long after the first and third games of a Western Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.

The series starts Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) and the Red Wings plan to fly back to Detroit prior to Game 2 on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC) in the same arena.

Two days off between games combined with a short flight was too good for the Red Wings to pass up -- regardless how much coach Mike Babcock talked up the great places to eat in Chicago following Detroit's upset of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series Sunday night.

"It's a little different," Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard told reporters following a Tuesday practice in Detroit. "I wasn't expecting all of this time off, but we'll definitely use it to our advantage of not really hanging out in Chicago and coming back here. The comfortability is a lot more."

That same reason was given by Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville when asked why his team will do the same thing after Game 3 on Monday at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC).

"Depending on overtime, we'll be home before midnight," Quenneville said. "So we get two full days here and two full sleeps in your own bed."

As for the series not starting until Wednesday, the Blackhawks are trying not to look at it as a disadvantage after winning their first-round series in five games. Chicago hasn't played since last Friday, which will be five days by the time Game 1 against Detroit arrives. The Red Wings won their opening series Sunday night, which means they'll be going on two days' rest.

"It could go both ways," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "You could use it to your advantage to get rest and maybe heal some injuries and things like that, but usually if you win a game you have momentum and you want to get right back at it. Both teams have to deal with it."

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