This is old hat for the defending champs from Detroit, who are in the Final Four for the third consecutive spring. The Blackhawks are in slightly less familiar surroundings, this being their first trip to the third round in 14 years. Ultimately, that experience under pressure could prove to be the difference maker.
Not that the Hawks will be an easy team to pin. The core may be young, but these playoffs have shown them to be an any-way-you-want-to-play team. Against the Flames, they were the physical aggressors, intimidating Calgary along the boards and in the crease. Against the Canucks, they made the most of their speed and skill to burn Vancouver's slower defense and light up
That makes it easy to get caught staring at
The Hawks may also take confidence from their last two regular-season meetings with Detroit, both Chicago wins. But they'd do well to remember that there's a good reason why the Wings are the last team standing from the Big Three.
"Coming off winning the Cup, they know what it's like to win and play in big games," Chicago coach