Daily Herald
Hawks know they must step up physical play vs. Canucks
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 4/27/2010 3:33 PM

If it seemed as if the Blackhawks weren't all that physical in their first-round series against Nashville, it's because they weren't.

That's needs to change against Vancouver in the second round.

The Predators outhit the Hawks in five of the six games, including a margin of 30-10 in Game 6 on Monday.

"This series is going to be a battle and we're going to have hit and everybody has to chip in," Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell said, looking ahead to playing the Canucks. "(Nashville) was on us a lot, but it wasn't the most physical that way. It's going to be a big difference against Vancouver in the games coming up."

The Canucks present a lot of challenges starting with the line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Mikael Samuelsson, and an excellent second line centered by Selke Trophy finalist Ryan Kesler.

"We're going to have to be aware when (the Sedins) are on the ice," Campbell said. "They make great little passes so we're going to have to have good sticks all over the ice.

"As any Blackhawk team has done over the last couple years, to have success we're going to have to come up on five-man units and get on a good forecheck and create turnovers."

Johnny be great: Jonathan Toews' clutch performance in Monday's Game 6 clincher capped a terrific series for the Hawks captain.

Toews had a goal (the game winner) and 2 assists in the 5-3 win over the Predators, giving him 2 goals and 6 assists for the series.

"Johnny knows, when the games are on the line he wants to be out there," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "His game seems to get better and better the higher the stage.

"You've got to love the way he wants the puck, his speed, his tenacity, his positioning defensively. Over time he just continues to get better."

Toews called the Game 6 win over Nashville the toughest of the series.

"That's a feisty team," Toews said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes, and we had to earn everything we got.

"We had to find ways to win and sometimes it's not going to be pretty. You look at Game 5, getting that goal late and winning in overtime, games like that are going to give us a lot of confidence further down the road."

Now he knows: Marian Hossa wasn't with the Hawks last spring in the playoffs but he learned quickly during the regular season how intense the rivalry is with Vancouver.

"Obviously, I wasn't here, but I was watching the games last year and I know how tough it was and how the rivalry is," Hossa said. "Even when we just played regular season games, there was more tempo and rivalry and that. It's going to be great for the fans."

Injury report: The Hawks go into the second round only missing defenseman Kim Johnsson, who hasn't played since March 13 because of concussion-like symptoms.

The Canucks list defenseman Willie Mitchell (concussion), center Ryan Johnson (foot) and defenseman Nolan Baumgartner (leg) as hurt.