Blackhawks are focused on being ready for the Ducks

Blackhawks realize their regular-season success against the Ducks doesn't mean much now

A pile of pucks in the net behind him Monday and a business trip in front of him, Corey Crawford plans to keep pucks in front of him and put business behind him during the upcoming Western Conference finals.

A week-plus playoffs layoff will end in a few days when the Chicago Blackhawks travel to Anaheim to face the Ducks, who advanced beyond the second round for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.

The Ducks won an NHL-record 18 games during the regular season when trailing in the third period and tied for the most victories in a season, 12, when trailing after two. They added four such wins during the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are 30-0-0 when leading after two periods.

"We're aware of the other team, but for the most part we're focused on being ready for the first game," Crawford said. "We have good feelings against them, but you don't want to fall into getting complacent at all or feel like, because things have gone well, that they'll automatically go well."

Especially when he's staring down the postseason points leader in Corey Perry (seven goals, eight assists) and his pals Ryan Getzlaf (two goals, 10 assists, tied for third in playoff scoring) and Ryan Kesler (four goals, five assists, tied for eighth).

"There's not much thinking going on," Crawford said. "Maybe a little bit before the play develops, but during actual play it's more just read and react. It's feel and seeing the puck more than thinking. If you're thinking too much, that's when things go wrong."

Not much went wrong for either team during the second round. The Blackhawks swept the Minnesota Wild, and the Ducks beat the Calgary Flames in five games.

While Crawford plans to spend his time not thinking too much, winger Bryan Bickell has spent his not remembering what Crawford alluded to — the Blackhawks' two 4-1 victories and a 1-0 loss against the Ducks this season.

One thing Bickell does remember is the physical challenge the Ducks present. Twenty-three players on their roster, not including goalies, weigh at least 200 pounds, compared with seven for the Blackhawks. The Ducks also have nine players 6 feet 3 or taller to the Blackhawks' four, one of whom is backup goalie Scott Darling.

"I can't really recall those games, they were so long ago," said Bickell, whose 64 hits rank second in the postseason. "They're more physical. They're more of a team that can bump and grind and play offense and go up and down the ice and use their speed too."

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall, I guess," center Andrew Shaw added.

Falling is not part of either team's plan, of course. Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville said time will be of the essence in becoming reacquainted with the foes.

"There's a little bit of that unfamiliarity," Quenneville said. "You'll have to maybe feel your way through it initially."

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau, whose defensemen have accounted for a league-best 29 points in the postseason, was careful to keep an even keel Monday.

"I don't want to disrespect us, and I don't want to over-respect them," Boudreau said. "They're good too. We know a little bit what to expect. … It's going to be interesting."

And all business.

pskrbina@tribpub.com

Twitter: @ChiTribSkrbina

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