Hawks content to wait on next opponent


CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are happy they're resting and their next opponent is not.

For the second consecutive series, the Blackhawks took care of business in six games and can now enjoy watching two teams square off in a Game 7 to decide who plays them next. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will meet Friday in Game 7 of their second-round series for a chance to play the Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals.

"If you use [the rest] to your advantage, it's an advantage," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said after practice Thursday. "We had a day off [Wednesday]. We didn't have a very long skate today, but we got out there and felt the puck a little bit, tried to get our legs back. Get your body as healthy as you can and get ready for the next series.

"Right now you're a fan. You're sitting back and [you're] watching to see what's going to happen. And then you've got to turn it back on and be ready and be a pro athlete again and realize where you are with a chance to go to a Stanley Cup final again."

The outcome of Friday's game will determine whether the Blackhawks are staying home or getting on a plane for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Game 1 would be in Chicago if the Kings win; it would be in Anaheim if the Ducks win. The NHL has announced the game will be at 2 p.m. CT Sunday, regardless of the location.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville isn't worried if his team has to fly to California on Saturday and play early Sunday.

"No, that's part of it," Quenneville said. "We've had a very light travel schedule here in the first two rounds. So Western Conference, more [travel] generally than we've gone through to date.

"It'll be a quicker turnaround for [the next opponent]. We'll prepare, get a day or two to look at both teams, zero in after [Friday] night's game, one practice Saturday, get excited about the next day's afternoon game whether traveling or not will be determined."

The Blackhawks fared well against both teams in the regular season. They were 2-0-1 against the Ducks and 3-0-0 against the Kings.

Kane laid out the challenges of playing each team.

"[The Ducks have] been a team that's been very consistent throughout the year," Kane said. "Been one of the best teams throughout the year from start to finish. Obviously they have some top-tier players. Maybe the top couple players in the league in [Corey] Perry and [Ryan] Getzlaf. Seems like their goaltender [John Gibson] is pretty hot right now. He's a young guy, but he seems pretty calm in net. He's playing well. It's going to be a tough matchup no matter who we face."

Kane said the Kings present a more defensive-oriented approach.

"Tough team to play, very physical," Kane said. "I think they're maybe more defensive oriented than the Ducks are. They play a tough game, kind of similar to St. Louis where the chances aren't going to be at an all-time high when you play against them.

"We faced them in the playoffs last year, so there's a little bit of familiarity when you go up against a team like that. It's always a tough place to play in L.A., and they're always a tough team to play. We'll see what happens. We'll all be watching and see whether we're staying at home or going on the road."