Hawks hope their speed will counter physical Kings
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The Los Angeles Kings are probably the most physical team the Blackhawks have played all season.
"It's almost like they're a better St. Louis Blues," said Hawks winger Patrick Kane. "They play physical, have players that can score. When they do play physical, it seems to work to their advantage.
"Against them, we'll try to worry about what we have to do. If we play our game, play the fast-paced game we've been playing the past few games, it should work well for us."
The Hawks aren't worried that the gas tank will be empty after their emotional seven-game series against Detroit that went seven games.
"We're fine," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We're ready to take on another challenge. We know it's going to be just as physical, probably even more against L.A. They're going to try to slow us down (because) we're a fast-paced team. They'll try to get in our way, interfere with us.
"I think, like I said earlier on in the previous series, something we can learn from and do as well within the rules of the game to get in guys' ways, make things a little more frustrating and tiring for the other team."
The Hawks think they're a better team because they had to rally from 3-1 down to beat the Red Wings.
"You don't draw it up, you don't plan to win a seven-game series coming back from 3-1," Toews said. "Looking back, I think it is a good thing for our team to have gone through what we just went through, to kind of be pushed to the end.
"You have certain negative thoughts that kind of creep in. You try not to think about them, that you're up against a tough team and the odds are against you. But we stayed positive. We stuck with it. We just had that attitude that you take it one shift at the same time, you win one game at a time, anything can happen. I think we're taking a lot of confidence out of that experience."
The Hawks say neither team has an advantage with the back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday to start the series.
"It's the same for both teams," Jonathan Toews said. "We're both coming into this third round off of big highs, off of winning those seventh games. I don't think it really matters.
"I think for the most part we know the urgency, the need to take care of ourselves and our bodies, recover after every single game. At the same time, I think we like getting into that groove as a team. After we play this back-to-back, playing the every-other-day type thing, we enjoy that routine a bit more."
Patrick Sharp says it's not going to be easy playing playoff games on back-to-back days.
"It's going to be tough, but they're doing the same thing as us," Sharp said. "At least we're at home, that's a bit of an advantage. It's not going to be fun, playing back-to-back then flying across the country to play again, but both teams are doing the same thing."
Left winger Bryan Bickell, who has been one of the Hawks' best players in the first two rounds of the playoffs, skated on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa at practice Friday.
"He likes to change it up, I guess," Bickell said of coach Joel Quenneville.
"L.A. is more of a hitting-style team," Bickell said. "If they want me to do it, I can show my physicality and do what I have to do to help the team. Their top guys hit, everybody hits over there. Their defense is probably one of the toughest to get a round and they finish every hit. They grind you down."
Quenneville said Bickell has earned the chance to play on the top line.
"Well, I think he's earned that opportunity, how he's played," Quenneville said. "Not just his production offensively, but physically, he's been engaged. He's got some speed. He's had a lot of puck time."
The Hawks won't watch any tape of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick until their meeting Saturday morning.
"We have a goalie coach who is great at scouting other goalies," Patrick Sharp said of Stephane Waite.
The Hawks agreed to terms Friday with forward Alex Broadhurst, the team's seventh round choice (199th overall) in the 2011 NHL entry draft, on a three-year entry-level contract.
Broadhurst, a New Lenox native, tallied 63 points in 65 games with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League last season.
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