The Blackhawks scored another dominating victory on Sunday night, but the game had an enormous shadow cast on the outcome.
Late in the first period, former Blackhawks Rene Bourque drove Brent Seabrook’s heard into the boards. Seabrook left the game and did not return, and Bourque was assessed both a major penalty (for checking from behind) and a game misconduct. It’s probable that Bourque will also receive a call from Brendan Shanahan soon, and will miss a few games because of the dirty play.
Early reports from the Hawks’ dressing room after the game were that Seabrook was “OK,” but he does have a history of concussions. Whether or not he’s available for the Hawks’ next game Tuesday in Pittsburgh hasn’t yet been determined.
The rest of the game was another solid performance from all over the Blackhawks roster.
Niklas Hjalmarsson scored his first goal of the season and was also credited with three blocked shots on more than 24 minutes of action. The Blackhawks other three goals were scored by Steve Montador, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
Jonathan Toews had an assist in the game and won 16 of 25 faceoffs. Jamal Mayers was credited with an assist and a team-high four hits in the game.
On the blue line, Duncan Keith played one of his better games of the season while his usual partner was missing. He skated 28:33 and was credited with three blocked shots and a team-leading five shots on goal. Keith was credited with an assist in the game.
Nick Leddy stepped up in Seabrook’s absence on the penalty kill unit, skating a team-high 5:21 short-handed.
The Blackhawks allowed two power play goals on five man-advantages for the Flames, the first time the Hawks had allowed a power play goal since Dec. 6; Chicago had killed all 18 penalties they were assessed in the previous six games. In December, the Blackhawks have now allowed four power play goals in 28 chances (85.7 percent).
Jeremy Morin skated with the NHL club for the first time this year and was physical early on. He was on the ice for 10:23 and was credited with one hit.
Ray Emery was strong again between the pipes, allowing just two goals against 24 shots. He has now allowed more than two goals only once in eight appearances since the debacle in Edmonton, and has won five consecutive starts. The Blackhawks are now 7-0-1 in December, and lead the Western Conference with 46 points (21-8-4). Sunday night’s win makes the Hawks 11-2-3 at the United Center this year.