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updated: 5/16/2013 12:09 AM

Hawks run weary Wings into the ground

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  • The Hawks' Michal Rozsival (32) is checked by Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg (40) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      The Hawks' Michal Rozsival (32) is checked by Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg (40) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    Associated Press

  • Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg (40) controls the puck against Chicago Blackhawks' Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg (40) controls the puck against Chicago Blackhawks' Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    Associated Press

  • Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk (13) controls the puck past Chicago Blackhawks ' Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

      Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk (13) controls the puck past Chicago Blackhawks ' Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    Associated Press

  • Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk gets sandwiched between Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews in first-period action of Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings.

       Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk gets sandwiched between Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews in first-period action of Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

What's it like to come in to Chicago fresh off a grueling seven-game quarterfinal series against Anaheim and have to face a fast, fresh and eager Blackhawks team at the United Center?

In a word, exhausting.

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Using a plethora of fresh bodies on the forecheck, the Blackhawks simply wore down the Red Wings on Wednesday, outshooting them 42-21 and outscoring them 4-1 to take a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinals series.

"We had a good first period, but let's just say after that they just took over the game," Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson admitted. "It took so much energy just to get out of our own zone and when we didn't have enough (energy) left to attack we had to dump it in and change ... and then they'd come again."

The nightmare didn't end there for Detroit

"They just came at us wave after wave," said Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg.

"They'd get new bodies in on their forecheck and they're coming in with fresh guys and we're sitting out there because we can't change," Ericsson said. "It was wearing on us for sure."

Yet despite all the doom and gloom and the lopsided statistics, Game 1 of this series never really got out of hand for Detroit until midway through the third period.

"It was a grinding game from our end because we never got out of our zone," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "They were way quicker than us and they executed way better. And then as time went on we turned pucks over for them and made it easier for them.

"They skated better than us on lines 1 through 4, so it's not like we had one line dominate and then three let us down or anything like that. We were all the same."

All the same as in not so good, at least over the final 40 minutes.

"We have to do a way better job of just being on our toes, wanting the puck, talking to each other, winning battles," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "We didn't do near a good enough job of that tonight.

"They're a good team. Give them credit. They're a (heck) of a team and they've had a great season, but in saying that, I thought the first period, except for the first shift, we did a very good job in that department, staying on top of them.

"In the third, for some reason we ended up watching them play hockey instead of just going after them."

Babcock and Co. are hoping that will change after a couple of days up to freshen up.

"We gotta get back at er' and get playing at a high tempo because obviously they were playing at a level that we weren't playing at," Babcock said.

For Zetterberg, the equation for evening up the series Saturday is simple:

"We have to play 60 minutes," he said. "Start with a good first pass, get the legs going, and if you do that you're playing in their end instead of them playing in ours."

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