Young Hawks taking flight

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The kids are all right.

Chicago's young dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews had no playoff experience heading into their series against the Calgary Flames.

It brought into question the impact those post-season neophytes would have once the puck dropped on the second-season. After two games, Toews and Kane have done just fine.

"Why wouldn't they? The question I would have is why wouldn't they do all right?" said blueliner Brian Campbell. "They're exceptional players, in their second year so they've been in the league and know what to expect. They've been in pressure situations before.

"Just get out there and go play."

Through the first two games, Toews -- captain of the Hawks and about to celebrate his 21st birthday later this week -- has two goals, both in Saturday night's 3-2 win, an assist, a plus-3 rating and has won 17 of 27 faceoffs.

Kane has netted one assist, is plus-1 and has six shots on goal. He hasn't scored but has been dangerous.

While Calgary's first-time post-season players have ranged from good (Rene Bourque) to OK (Curtis Glencross) to up-and-down (Michael Cammalleri) to non-existent (Olli Jokinen), Chicago's young guns have made a major mark.

"They're great kids. They like the challenge. like the opportunity," Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're getting a lot of attention as well and fought through it. Jonny scored two gigantic goals, and Sharp was dangerous around the net.

"We still want to get their experience on the job, get better, and get comfortable going into games and knowing the battle level of each game is going to be higher. We're looking for them to continue to progress."

Kane, the smaller and more in-your-face of the two, has taken his share of hard hits this series -- including a couple of big licks from Bourque -- but has shown no fear of the tough areas.

As for Toews, he turned the game around for his team Saturday, putting the Hawks on the board early in the second after Calgary had gained a 2-0 lead, and then scored the winner in the 3-2 affair.

He's also done a stong job of keeping Calgary's top players in check, such as Jarome Iginla.

"What can I say? I'm sure you guys are saying it already," said winger Patrick Sharp.

"He's a pretty big player for us, got that great shot. There was a lot of talk in the early part of the season when he wasn't scoring, but we all shook that off and laughed at it. You see the way he's playing now, scored big goals for us, and that's why he's the captain."

They were a little tense before the series started, but that's to be expected. They've moved past that and become the impact players they were in the regular season.

"Toews hadn't played a playoff game, but he's played on a big stage before, big-time games," winger Adam Burish said. "A lot of other guys have, too. I think all the guys were nervous a little bit, not sure how they wanted to play or how they needed to be playing a big game like that.

"The biggest thing for our confidence was getting that first win and the way we did it, an overtime game like that, coming from behind. That's going to help us."

Just think, the Hawks stars are just getting started, both in their careers and this series.


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