Wings, Hawks prepare for final fight as division rivals

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When the 2013-14 campaign starts, the Detroit Red Wings will be in the Eastern Conference. It seems only appropriate then that they get one final series against their soon-to-be former division rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It’ll be exciting for us and for our fans,” Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader told the Detroit News.

“Both teams know each other so well,” Abdelkader added. “There will be no secrets.”

These squads faced each other four times in the regular season and Chicago won every game. That being said, three of those four contests went to overtime. The only exception was the Blackhawks’ 7-1 victory on March 31.

“It’s going to be another hard-fought series,” Jimmy Howard said. “We’ll have our hands full. They’re a deep team at every single position.”

The respect runs both ways for these teams.

“They had a big run to get in the playoffs, and you watch them in games, you know how they’re intelligent, they know how to win, they know how to play the right way,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Detroit in a Chicago Sun-Times report. “They keep themselves in the play. We know how dangerous they can be.”

Chicago’s Patrick Sharp added that the Red Wings are a “resilient” team that avoids changing the way they play regardless of whether they’re winning or losing.

“That’s one of the reasons why they’ve been successful for a long time,” Sharp commented.

The series will start on Wednesday, according to the Red Wings’ Twitter feed.