The Blackhawks don't think their recent dominance over the Red Wings -- they've won seven straight games against them -- gives them any kind of edge heading into their Western Conference semifinal series that finally begins Wednesday night at the United Center.
And ''dominance'' might be a bit misleading. The Hawks have won six of the seven games by one goal. Four went into overtime. They won three by shootout. In fact, 10 of the last 12 games between the Hawks and Wings have been decided by one goal (and another was a one-goal game until the final 90 seconds).
''It's a fresh slate. It's a new season. We're starting even and clean,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''I think we have to look at it one day at a time and one game at a time. You look at all the games this year, discounting the one game [a 7-1 Hawks rout at Joe Louis Arena], every game was a close game and a tight game where anything could have happened.''
For what it's worth, history still favors the Blackhawks. Since the end of the 2004-05 lockout, only one of 11 teams has had a 3-0-0 or better record against an opponent in the regular season and lost to that team in the playoffs. The only time it happened was in 2008, when the Montreal Canadiens were 4-0-0 in the regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers, but lost 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Still, as Hawks fans know, anything can happen against the Red Wings. In 1992, the Hawks were 1-5-2 vs. the Red Wings in the regular season, then swept them in the second round en route to the Stanley Cup Finals.
''The hatred is there between us and the Red Wings,'' Hawks forward Dave Bolland said. ''Now that they're leaving our conference, it's even bigger, too. I thought we were going to see the last of them at the end of the season, but it's good to see them again. I think we've got to be ready for them. We can't take them lightly.''