CALGARY - Lot of good matchups in the West semifinal series between the Hawks and Canucks, starting in goal with Nikolai Khabibulin and Roberto Luongo.
The Hawks' defense did a good job shutting down Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen, but now it gets tougher with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Mats Sundin, Pavol Demitra. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler presenting all kinds of problems.
Look for Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to be on the ice whenever the Sedins are on.
The Canucks have a physical defense, but the Hawks showed against the Flames they can hold their own physically.
Game 1, likely on Thursday at GM Place, could be key with the Hawks having some momentum and the Canucks off since last week.
Looks like another long series, six or seven games. The Canucks are the favorites, but don't sell the Hawks short. They could win the thing.
Khabibulin was sensational in Monday's series-clinching 4-1 win over the Flames with 43 saves and was the MVP for the Hawks thanks to his work in Games 1,2 and 6.
The Hawks played a complete series, answering questions about if they are physical enough and getting contributions from all around.
Cam Barker stepped up, as did Adam Burish and Dustin Byfuglien. And the Hawks' stars outplayed the Flames' best players by a mile, starting with Brent Seabrook, Martin Havlat, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane.
The better team won.
The Flames? Good riddance.