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Blackhawks know there's still work to be done
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

The Blackhawks' Kris Versteeg, left to right, Dustin Byfuglien and Brian Campbell celebrate Byfuglien's first of 2 goals in Game 5. Campbell set up both goals.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 5/11/2009 12:05 AM | Updated: 5/12/2009 6:59 AM

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Game tracker

Tonight's faceoff

Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks at the United Center, 8 p.m.

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Radio: WGN 720-AM

At a glance: By winning, the Blackhawks will advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time since they battled Detroit in 1995. The Hawks have won the last two games of the series, holding the Canucks to just 3 goals. The Hawks are 4-1 at home in the playoffs.

Next: Game 7 (if necessary) at GM Place, Vancouver, Thursday, TBA.

The Blackhawks are young, but they aren't stupid.

The Hawks know Vancouver will come at them with everything they've got tonight at the United Center as the Canucks look to avoid elimination in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.

"That team has a lot of leadership and is not going to quit," Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell said. "They say the fourth one is the hardest."

There's not much left to say about the Hawks that already hasn't been said.

The grit, speed, skill, discipline and flair that has defined them since the playoffs started was on display again Saturday night at GM Place in the 4-2 victory over the Canucks that gave them a 3-2 series lead.

Another win tonight and the Hawks will advance to their first Western Conference final since 1995 to play either Detroit or Anaheim.

"We've got to be careful not to get too excited," Patrick Kane said. "We have a chance to close it out and obviously we have some momentum. We have a chance to maybe go to a place we didn't think we could get to, the conference finals.

"We've got to bring our best game because I'm sure they will too."

The Canucks' best hasn't been good enough in the last two games of a series that is starting to be dominated by the Hawks' defense.

Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell were nothing short of sensational in Saturday's win, using their speed and puck possession to frustrate the Vancouver forwards.

Canucks stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin have been nonfactors since Game 2.

"They're playing good team defense," Daniel Sedin said. "We've got to be better offensively."

Saturday was easily Campbell's best game as a Hawk. He played almost 22 minutes, set up both goals by Dustin Byfuglien and stood up to the Canucks' physical punishment.

"It was a pretty solid effort by all of us," Campbell said. "It was a pretty gutsy road effort."

The Hawks held the Canucks to 21 shots in Game 5 - just 5 in each of the last two periods. Since getting 27 shots in the series opener, the Canucks have had games of 21, 21, 15 and 21 shots.

"We have to attack more while still playing good defense," Mats Sundin said. "We have to play in their end more and draw a few more penalties. We've won in there before and it's no time to get down."

The Canucks remain confident they can win again in the UC like they did in Game 3 and bring the series back to Vancouver for a Game 7 on Thursday night.

"This is far from done. It takes four games and we'll get there," Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell said.

"We're going to come out and play the hardest game we have all year," goalie Roberto Luongo said. "I know a lot of people are going to write us off, but we believe we can win.

"We should have won both games in Chicago. We know we can go in there and get a win. I know how we're going to respond."

The Hawks are banking on the atmosphere in the UC to be even crazier than in previous playoff games with the elimination of the Canucks on the line.

"It's hard not to think what it's going to be like in there," Kane said. "The crowd is going to be pumped and it's going to be a fun place to play."