Tonight in the NHL: 'Hawks open playoffs vs. Wild

Tonight in the NHL: 'Hawks open playoffs vs. Wild
April 30, 2013, 3:00 pm
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For more on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, check out some first-round predictions by Tim Panaccio and Sarah Baicker (see story).

Now, here's a look at tonight's action:

Wild at Blackhwaks, 8 p.m.
CHICAGO -- For all their accomplishments so far - the record-breaking start, the Presidents' Trophy, the individual honors - the Chicago Blackhawks know this is the time of year that will define their season. They said the same thing all along.

Jonathan Toews and Co. also know all the reasons for concern heading into their playoff series against the Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks are favored to make it to the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons, but the Wild bring plenty of talent into Game 1 on Tuesday night. Then there is Chicago's recent postseason history, and the checkered performance for past winners of the Presidents' Trophy, adding to the intrigue. (See full preview).

- The Associated Press

Kings at Blues, 8 p.m.
ST. LOUIS -- This time around, the St. Louis Blues are determined not to be a mere speed bump for the Los Angeles Kings.

Coach Ken Hitchcock likes his team's chances of making a deep playoff run, but scoffed away a suggestion that the Blues and Kings have a lot of similarities. After sweeping the Blues in the second round last spring en route to the franchise's first Stanley Cup, Los Angeles won all three games this season, too, and have taken eight in a row overall.

"Look, we haven't beaten them in two years," Hitchcock said Monday. "I think we're really hungry for this series. It's a matchup that quite frankly if we're going to go far, the confidence if we could win this series would be astronomical."

The Blues have won 12 of their last 15 with a mix of stingy goaltending, tight checking and just enough offense. They won their last six at home to claim the fourth seed in the Western Conference after finishing one point ahead of the Kings. (See full preview).

- The Associated Press

Red Wings at Ducks, 10:30, p.m.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A day after the Anaheim Ducks wrapped up the most impressive regular season in franchise history, they were eager to forget all about it.

The Ducks realize their impressive record and Pacific Division title won't matter much to the Detroit Red Wings, who had to scramble just to make the postseason while Anaheim only needed to coast. That's why Detroit is a fashionable pick for a first-round upset - and why the Ducks are eager to prove they belong in their spot atop the standings.

"We can use it as fuel," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said after practice Monday. "It's something that you've got to go out and prove and earn, and winning in the playoffs is how you earn everything in this league. Anyone can win during the regular season. It's this time of year that you've got to prove yourself."

Game 1 is Tuesday night at Honda Center. (See full preview).

- The Associated Press

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