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Posted On Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 5:14 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks' Seabrook displaying penchant for points

CHICAGO -- Brent Seabrook is one of the core group players with long-term contracts for the Chicago Blackhawks, but he often gets overshadowed by bigger names on the roster.

If you look at the Blackhawks' stats during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Seabrook's name is near the top in scoring. In fact, the first-pair defenseman is tied with captain Jonathan Toews for second with 11 points (two goals, nine assists).

Chicago leads the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 in the best-of-7 Western Conference Final, and Seabrook again played well Sunday at United Center. He led the Blackhawks with five hits, blocked four shots and put two shots on goal, finishing with a plus-1 rating in 23:33 of ice time.

Game 2 is Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 4:10 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks' Hjalmarsson blocks shots with abandon

CHICAGO -- The past two weeks Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was under a doctor's strong recommendation to limit his speech after being struck in the throat May 5 by a shot from Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin.

Hjalmarsson was cleared to speak again Monday and met with reporters at United Center for the first time since the injury occurred. After being struck by the puck Hjalmarsson dropped to the ice and grabbed his throat. He was down for a few minutes before slowly skating to the bench to get his breath back. He didn't miss a shift and has played all five games since it happened, including Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

"It was pretty scary once it happened," said Hjalmarsson, who has worn a Kevlar neck protector the past five games. "It was tough to breathe there for a couple minutes. I was just glad that I recovered quickly. And once I figured out that I'm able to breathe, it was a big relief. I guess I was pretty lucky and I'm just glad to be able to talk again and can't wait to get rid of that neck guard that I'm still wearing."

Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 1-0 after a 3-1 victory in the opener at United Center. Hjalmarsson did what he does best to help the team, logging 18:55 of ice time, blocking four shots and helping the Blackhawks kill off both Kings power plays.

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 2:42 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks' Shaw skates, could play in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw took another step Monday toward returning to action against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Final, skating on his own at United Center.

Shaw has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury sustained in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Minnesota Wild.

"We'll put him in practice [Tuesday] with the full group and make an assessment on him," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's made some real good progress the last few days and he felt pretty good [Monday]."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 4:28 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks expect Shaw back on ice this weekend

CHICAGO -- Andrew Shaw again rested with a lower-body injury and didn't practice with the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at United Center.

The good news for the Blackhawks is that Shaw, a scrappy, versatile second-year forward, is close to skating again and might be able to return in the pending Western Conference Final against either the Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings.

Game 1 is scheduled for Sunday.

"[He] certainly adds an ingredient you appreciate as a coach and a teammate," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "[He] has that relentless competitiveness, some skill offensively and he's hard to play against. Nice set of hands, can take faceoffs, play center, wing. You look forward to getting him back. We expect to have him back on the ice this weekend and we'll get a better determination of when he'll play."

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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 4:51 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks' Shaw closer, but won't play in Game 6

CHICAGO -- Make it five straight games for the Chicago Blackhawks without scrappy, versatile forward Andrew Shaw.

Though he's showing progress with a lower-body injury that occurred in Game 1 of a Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild, Shaw will miss Game 6 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

It will be the third straight trip to St. Paul he won't make, after sitting out Game 3 and Game 4 this past week. Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 after grinding out a 2-1 victory Sunday in Game 5 at United Center.

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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 4:46 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks experts in closing out series

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks don't always show a killer instinct early in a Stanley Cup Playoffs series, but the defending Stanley Cup champions sure know how to capitalize when given a chance to clinch.

Since 2009 the Blackhawks are 11-2 in series close-out games in their favor with a chance to up that mark Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild.

They're also looking to go 14-0 since 2009 in Game 5 and Game 6 of series that were tied 2-2, after winning 2-1 in Game 5 against the Wild on Sunday at United Center. Chicago now leads a best-of-7 series 3-2 against Minnesota in the Western Conference Second Round, with a chance to close it out in Game 6 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center (9 p.m., CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

"I don't know [why]," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said, when asked to give a reason for the domination of series-clinching contests. "It's something I wasn't really aware of, but we have a lot of characters in the room [who] are good in important games, [who] step up and play their best hockey in games like that. A lot of good leaders and other guys have been around [and] have experience. I think that's key in situations like this."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks still seeking right combinations vs. Wild

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is searching for more balanced scoring throughout his forward lines again, which could only mean one thing for practice Thursday at United Center.

The "Q line blender" was back at work.

Quenneville shuffled all four of his lines from how they were comprised during a 4-0 loss Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of a Western Conference Second Round series.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Friday in Minnesota (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), but they'll probably have a new look for the Wild.

"We're looking for balance and maybe all lines, a little more threat to score on all the lines," Quenneville said. "That's what we're looking for a little bit. Offense, defensive reliability, [while] at the same time having maybe more offense spread out throughout our lineup."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 2:48 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks rule Shaw out for Game 4

CHICAGO -- Andrew Shaw will miss a third straight game for the Chicago Blackhawks and might not play again in a Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Shaw, who has a lower-body injury, was injured in the opening game of the series on a hit by Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner.

The Blackhawks initially hoped Shaw would be ready to play Game 3 on Tuesday in Minnesota, a 4-1 Wild victory, but he didn't make the trip. They returned to Chicago following the game and there was hope Shaw might make the return trip for Game 4 on Friday. Instead, Shaw didn't practice Thursday at United Center and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Shaw will not travel with the team.

"Every guy's different and, you know, I think he's a very competitive guy and probably he would've done anything he could to play," Quenneville said. "I think we've got to tame him a little bit in that regard, so I think that was maybe what we were talking about at the time."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 3:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks non-committal on Shaw's Game 4 return

CHICAGO -- The availability of Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw remains uncertain for Game 4 of their Western Conference Second Round series Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Chicago leads the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. Minnesota won 4-0 in Game 3 on Tuesday in St. Paul, the second straight game Chicago played without Shaw.

A hit from Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner knocked Shaw out of Game 1 in the first period with a lower-body injury and his prognosis is unknown. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville first told reporters prior to Game 2 at United Center that he was hopeful Shaw would play in Game 3.

Quenneville then said Shaw might make the return trip to the Twin Cities for Game 4, but now that possibility seems up in the air.

"We'll see," Quenneville said Wednesday. "That's to be determined."

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Posted On Monday, 05.05.2014 / 6:35 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks not concerned with shots disadvantage

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are being outshot by nearly five shots a game, but they are outscoring teams by more than a goal per game and have won six straight in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Opponents have outshot the defending Stanley Cup champions by a 266-230 margin in Chicago's eight postseason games, but the Blackhawks hold a 29-17 edge in goals.

They're scoring 3.6 goals per game and allowing only 2.1 to get past goalie Corey Crawford. Asked Monday if trailing in shots by such a wide margin was a concern, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville shook his head.

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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential