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updated: 5/17/2013 5:22 AM

Blackhawks know battle with Red Wings has just begun

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  • The Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk, here controlling the puck past Michal Handzus, remains very much on the minds of the Blackhawks.

      The Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk, here controlling the puck past Michal Handzus, remains very much on the minds of the Blackhawks.
    Associated Press

  • Even after a 4-1 victory in the series opener, the Blackhawks understand that the Red Wings will continue to battle and won't ever give up.

      Even after a 4-1 victory in the series opener, the Blackhawks understand that the Red Wings will continue to battle and won't ever give up.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

These are the Detroit Red Wings, and they're not going to go away quietly.

The Blackhawks know this from experience.

If anything, Wednesday's 4-1 Hawks victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals will only serve as motivation for the Red Wings to come back with a better effort Saturday in Game 2.

That's what the Hawks are expecting anyway.

"We've said it before the series even started, we still have something to prove against this team, and we know that," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said.

"As long as I've been a Blackhawk we always say the Red Wings are kind of a measuring stick for our team and that hasn't changed a bit.

"We're off to a good start in the series, but we still have a long way to go. We know that's a team that's never going to give up. We've got some momentum going for us, and we've got keep that up in Game 2."

The Red Wings had an OK start but seemed to wear down as Game 1 progressed, no doubt a result of their long and grueling seven-game series with Anaheim in the opening round when they flew back and forth to California six times.

"I expect them to be better, for sure," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Those Western trips back and forth add up.

"I was more concerned with how we were going to approach that game being off, but I thought we had a decent start and got better as the game progressed. We certainly got to the level we're looking for from last series and we should look to take off from there."

The Hawks outshot Detroit 17-5 in the second period and outscored the Red Wings 3-0 in the third.

"It seems like they lost their legs a little as the game went on," Hawks winger Patrick Kane said. "I'm sure they'll be ready for Game 2 with a couple days off. But I think we can play better, too."

The Hawks, led by defensemen Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson, held Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk without a shot in Game 1. Quenneville tried his best to get his top line of Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad out there as often as possible against Datsyuk.

"You've just got to work as hard as you can against him," Toews said. "Same thing goes for (Henrik) Zetterberg. They're two very skilled players who work hard as well.

"They're not easy to play against, so you've got to try and outwork them every shift and keep the puck away from them as much as you can.

"We know they didn't have too much energy going to the second half of the game, so we can probably expect them to have a little more jump in the next one."

Hawks winger Michael Frolik expects Datsyuk to be more of a factor on the power play, which was 0-for-3.

"He's got such good patience with the puck and can take the puck away from you from anywhere when you don't expect it," Frolik said.

"You don't want to rush at him because he can make you look stupid," added Kane.

Quenneville thinks Datsyuk still will be heard from before the series is over.

"He's still dangerous," Quenneville said. "I think that when you watch him play there are still so many things he can do during a course of a game.

"He's one of those players who does things nobody else can do. He can wow you, so that's an ongoing challenge."

The Hawks are 5-1 in the playoffs without Kane or Toews scoring a goal. Patrick Sharp has 6 goals and Hossa 4.

"That's the thing with our team," Kane said. "If one or two guys aren't scoring then other guys seem to step up, and Hossa and Sharpie are doing that. That's the way it's been all year. A different guy steps up and produces."

•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.

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