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A break down: Preying on the Preds

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Here's a look back at the Hawks' first-round series win over the Nashville Predators. It wasn't an easy series, and the Hawks never expected it to be.

"Whenever you can win a playoff series, especially against a team like Nashville, it feels good," Patrick Sharp said. "I don't know who said it was going to be an easy series or we were going to get upset. It was two teams that played hard going back to the regular season. It was a very tough series. I give them a lot of credit. It could have really gone either way."

Best Hawk - D Brent Sopel: Had five blocked shots and needed eight to 10 stitches to repair a gash in his cheek in Game 6. He blocked 21 shots in the series and was praised as a difference-maker by Nashville coach Barry Trotz.

"It's all about sacrificing and doing whatever it takes to win right now," Sopel said.

Best Pred - C David Legwand: Led his team with seven points and a plus-5 rating. He was noticeable especially in the Hawks' end.

Unsung hero - D Niklas Hjalmarsson: Had a goal, two assists and team-best plus-6 rating. He was a major factor on the penalty kill and blocked 14 shots.

Biggest goal - Patrick Kane's game-tying goal in Game 5 with 13.6 seconds left.

"I don't know if there is any one bigger right now [in my career]," Kane said. "Huge goal obviously, from death to the door opening."

Best move - Putting Bryan Bickell on the top line with Kane and Jonathan Toews. It gave them a big body for battles along the boards and he provided plenty of traffic in front of Pekka Rinne. He was a plus-4 in three games - all wins.

Best game - The Hawks' 3-0 win in Game 4. Games 5 and 6 stick out for their emotional, up-and-down pace. But Game 4 is what the Hawks will use as the basis for their success going forward.

Key stat - 1-for-26. The Hawks yielded only goal to Nashville on the power play, which came in Game 6. The Hawks' penalty kill and the play of Antti Niemi were key.

"Look at the some of the guys on our team, they've done a great job at blocking shots, Sopel and Hjalmarsson, and Antti has been great," defenseman Duncan Keith said.

Bad stat - 188-127: The Hawks were outhit 188-127 in the first-round series.

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About the blogger

Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.


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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on April 27, 2010 7:53 PM.

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