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Thursday, March 28, 2013
Hawks hope to continue Bulls' momentum

By Scott Powers



CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks hope to carry the momentum built by the Chicago Bulls ending the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak into their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

Blackhawks players Bryan Bickell, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp were in attendance for the Bulls' win over the Heat at the United Center on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks lead the Western Conference with 53 points in 32 games and are followed by the Ducks, who have 48 points in 33 games. The Ducks have defeated the Blackhawks once in a shootout and once in regulation this season.

"It was funny we were talking about it last night," said Kane, who donned a Chicago Cubs hat at the Bulls' game. "The Bulls vs. the Heat was a big rivalry (Wednesday) night in Chicago, and we'll come back (Friday) night against the Ducks, which is becoming a big rivalry, especially this year with how close we are in the standings, them beating us twice. Hopefully, we can get some revenge on them.

"I'm sure it'll be a good game. I know they got (Corey) Perry back. That obviously helps them. I think the only difference is we're pretty much here at home. That's an advantage for us, and we have to use it to our advantage and try to exactly like the Bulls to get out to an early lead and use the crowd to our advantage and get the place rocking."

Sharp said the United Center crowd took it to another level on Wednesday.

"I've been to a lot of Bulls games; that was by far the most intense game I've been to, including some playoffs game," Sharp said. "It was a great atmosphere. The crowd was loud, the guys were great; it was a lot of fun to be there.

"It's always nice to see the Chicago teams do well. I know all the guys in the room are from different countries and cities, but we all take pride in the sports teams in Chicago. That was a huge win in this building. Hopefully, we can take some of that energy and put into our game."

Said Bickell: "Keep that vibe in this rink. I know there's a lot of Bulls fans/Hawks fans out there (Wednesday.) We need to keep this thing going and carry into the playoffs."

Prior to the game, Kane and Sharp met and had their picture taken with Heat forward LeBron James. Sharp said Kane was a bit star struck.

"He was nervous," Sharp said of Kane. "He wasn't talking very much courtside there. He knew he was going to meet LeBron and get his picture taken, so he was a little antsy. I know he looks up to him as one of his favorite athletes. I know Chicago fans don't want to hear that. Whether you like or hate (James,) you have to respect the talent he has and what kind of athlete he is."

Kane made it clear that he was rooting for the Bulls, but he did enjoy meeting James.

"We were happy for the Bulls, for sure," Kane said. "I think first and foremost we're obviously Chicago fans in here. I've just been a big LeBron fan ever since he came into the league, and I got a great respect for what he's done in his career.

"It was one of those things it's an exciting thing before the game. I don't want to say I seemed like a super fan, but it was like you're excited to meet him. Myself and Sharpie got some pictures. It was real quick, maybe a couple minutes, but definitely something you won't forget for a long time."

Sharp enjoyed meeting James, too, but his support was all behind the effort of Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich against the Heat. Sharp especially liked seeing Hinrich get physical with James.

"All I know is my boy Kirk Hinrich had a heck of a game (Wednesday) and was on the winning side," Sharp said. "I told him after the game we should get some hockey pads on him and get him on the penalty kill or something like that."