Fans still hopeful despite Blackhawks' loss

April 16, 2010 (CHICAGO)

But 'Hawks fans left the United Center Friday night with long faces. The Nashville Predators won for the first time on the road in the playoffs, rallying to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in the Western Conference quarterfinal opener.

The Blackhawks came up short in the Conference finals last year. But fans have high hopes and expectations this time around.

"I was a little baby the last time they made the finals so I don't remember," said Ashlie Cebak, Blackhawks fan. "Hawks are going all the way this year.

Some came in full Blackhawks regalia. Others brought replica Stanley Cup trophies.

"It's a symbol of what's to come for Chicago. We have waited long enough. It is about time," said Chris Bedford.

It is the playoff season in Chicago. The Willis Tower was lit up for the 'Hawks Friday night. The Bulls play Saturday. But expectations for hockey are clearly much higher.

"Things really are cyclical and the Bulls had their run obviously and now maybe it is time for the 'Hawks again. They have a young team. They have an exciting team. Expectations are very high," said Carmen DeFalco, ESPN Radio.

For long time 'Hawks fans, the team's resurgence in the last two seasons has been exciting to watch. Mary Naegle had season tickets in the old Chicago stadium.

"They might have a year or two to go but I'm hoping that maybe this year there might be the time for them," said Naegle.

"Five years ago, you could sit anywhere here. But now, you know, I had to buy tickets that were double the price," said another fan.

Game 2 in the best-of-7 is Sunday night at the United Center.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.

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