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Seabrook out again in Game 5 for Blackhawks

by Dan Rosen
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- For the second time in as many games the Chicago Blackhawks will try to stave off elimination without the services of defenseman Brent Seabrook, who remains day-to-day with an upper body injury, according to coach Joel Quenneville.

The Blackhawks trail Vancouver 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal round series with Game 5 set for Thursday (10 p.m. ET, CBC, VERSUS, RDS, CSN-CH).

John Scott will stay in as the Blackhawks' sixth defenseman. He played more than eight minutes in that role in Game 4, but also sat out for almost 20 thanks to a pair of 10-minute misconduct penalties in the third period.

"There's a chance he could have played, but he's not," Quenneville said of Seabrook Thursday morning. "He's just not ready to go."

The speculation is that Seabrook is suffering from a concussion, but the Hawks have not said anything further than an upper body injury.

Seabrook was hit hard by Raffi Torres in the second period of Game 3 this past Sunday at United Center. He missed the final five minutes of the second period but returned to play the third period. He said Monday that he was going to play in Game 4, but he did not. Seabrook made the trip with the Blackhawks to Vancouver for Game 5 because there was a hope that he would be able to play.

"He's been one of our best defensemen all year and it's not easy and not fun to be missing a guy like that," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said before Quenneville told the media Seabrook would not play. "But, whether he's in or out it doesn't change our gameplan. We just adapt to it. Some guys play more. We'll be ready for whatever the situation is."

The situation could call for blue-liners Duncan Keith, Brian Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chris Campoli and Nick Leddy to play bigger minutes than usual. Keith and Campbell could play upwards of 30 or more if the game is close in the third period. Both were around 25 minutes on Tuesday, and that game was a blowout by the third period.

"The matchups are a little more challenging on the road so some guys are going to get a little more quality and quantity as well," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks used the NHL's decision not to suspend Torres as motivation for Game 4. They felt Torres should have received a multiple-game suspension for his shoulder-to-head hit from behind the net on Seabrook, but NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said that kind of hit is not illegal.

Nevertheless, the Hawks remain strong in their beliefs and Patrick Kane nodded in agreement when he was asked Thursday morning if that motivation will carry over into Game 5.

"We're missing one of our best players and I think a lot of us and probably a lot of people in the NHL feel Torres should have been suspended, not only one game but probably a little bit more than that," Kane said.

The Hawks still feel confident they can bring this series back to Chicago, in part because they scored seven goals without Seabrook in the lineup Tuesday. They also scored seven goals in Rogers Arena once during the regular season.

"You never know. We put up seven on them in this building before this year, so it can happen," Kane said. "But, you want Seabs in the lineup. He plays in all situations and he's a big, physical body back there. We'll definitely miss him if he's out, but last game a lot of players stepped up on defense. A guy like Brian Campbell, he doesn't normally play shutdown minutes, but he did a great job, him and Hjalmarsson, against the Sedins."

Quenneville has been asking for more across the board from every guy on his team, not just his defensemen. Toews, Kane and Marian Hossa in particular have yet to deliver much. They've combined for 8 assists, but zero goals despite a plethora of quality chances.

It's pretty difficult to believe the Hawks can truly get back into this series without at least a goal or two from those three.

"I can't complain about the opportunities I'm getting, whether it's on the power play or 5-on-5, playing against (Ryan) Kesler or the Sedin line," Toews said. "You've just got to find a way to generate something. Kaner and I have had plenty of chances in the last couple of games. In the last one we didn't need it, but there's no time better than now. We can't wait any longer."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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