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Blackhawks to face Red Wings in playoffs

Tuesday - 5/14/2013, 3:21am  ET

The Detroit Red Wings celebrate their 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of their first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, May 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

JAY COHEN
AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks got to watch all the action in the NHL playoffs while they waited for an opponent to emerge for the second round.

What they saw from the Detroit Red Wings looked very familiar.

"Just that same relaxed, patient experience that they've shown in the playoffs and makes them a tough team to beat," Toews said. "They got some veteran guys who have won Stanley Cups. They understand what it takes to win during playoff time and that's the reason they came out on top."

Yup, Chicago's next opponent is a very familiar one. Detroit's 3-2 victory in Anaheim in Game 7 on Sunday night set up one last matchup between the "Original Six" teams in the Western Conference semifinals.

Under the NHL's realignment plan, the Red Wings will move to the East next season, meaning they will not face the Blackhawks in the playoffs before the Stanley Cup. That adds another level of intrigue to a best-of-seven series that already features one of the NHL's biggest rivalries in the tense setting of the second round of the postseason.

"I think it's just fitting, final year of being in the Western Conference and we're facing the Hawks here in the playoffs," Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Detroit had to scramble to extend the longest active playoff streak in major professional sports to 22 straight seasons, winning the last four games of the regular season to secure the seventh spot in the West. Still, it's the lowest playoff seed for the Red Wings since the NHL moved to the 1 vs. 8 conference format in 1993.

That hardly mattered in the first round against Anaheim.

The Red Wings and Ducks alternated wins for the first six games of the playoffs. Anaheim got its first chance to close it out on Friday night, but Henrik Zetterberg scored in overtime to lift Detroit to a 4-3 victory after it blew a two-goal lead with 3
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