Hawks vs. Canucks again in semis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks will face off in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Hawks defeated the Canucks in six games last season, finishing off the series with a memorable 7-5 finale at the United Center that featured a Patrick Kane hat trick.

This season, the teams split their four-game series, each winning once in the visitor's building.

"Vancouver is a great team, and it's going to be a fun series," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "It's going to be a hard-fought series.

"They can score goals and have one of the best goaltenders in the world in net. I'm sure it's going to be like last year's [series]."

Bad blood has been a signature between the two teams going back to last year's postseason. In that series, the Hawks' Andrew Ladd broke the nose of Canucks forward Ryan Kesler.

Earlier this season, Ladd and Kesler fought in Vancouver, and after the contest Kesler called Ladd a "coward." The Hawks responded by laughing it off.

"There's so much going on, so much being said sometimes, even players commenting on each other," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "As a team, we're going to focus on our game, that's really what matters, what we say and do in this locker room. We're not going to worry about all the stuff said outside the locker room."

Kesler and Kane were teammates on the U.S. Olympic team this past February. Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook won gold with Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo for Team Canada.

The Blackhawks have four players on their roster from the Vancouver area, including Seabrook, Ladd, Colin Fraser and Troy Brouwer.

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.