CHICAGO – After taking a hard slap shot to the midsection late in the second period of a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook left for a stretch before returning in the third to finish the game.
Seabrook, however, will not be in uniform when the Blackhawks (12-0-3) play the rival Vancouver Canucks (8-3-3) Tuesday night at United Center – a contest in which the hosts are vying for to tie the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks for the NHL record of 16 consecutive games with at least a point to start a season.
Seabrook wasn’t on the ice for the Blackhawks morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville said afterward the top-pair defenseman would miss the game with what's being termed a lower-body injury.
Quenneville said Seabrook's status is day-to-day and didn’t shed any light on which defenseman he’ll put with Duncan Keith on the top pairing. Quenneville did say it probably won't be either Niklas Hjalmarsson or Johnny Oduya, who have made up a solid second pair.
"Not likely," Quenneville said of splitting Oduya and Hjalmarsson. "They're consistent, they get in the way, they got good gaps, they got good coverage and reads, they're good around the net … but they play defense first and they've handled the puck better offensively, as well."
After Seabrook left the game Sunday, Keith stayed on the ice for most of the remaining three minutes of the second period – splitting that time playing with Sheldon Brookbank and Oduya. That probably means Brookbank or fellow stay-at-home veteran Michael Rozsival might get the nod. Quenneville could opt to bump up slick skating young puck-mover Nick Leddy, who’s played quite well as a stalwart of the third pair.
Forward Daniel Carcillo continues to make progress with the sprained knee that’s kept him out since getting hurt against the Kings in the season-opener, and goalie Corey Crawford skated on his own before the skate, still listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed upper-body injury
"[Carcillo’s] doing good, he feels good [and] we expect him, on this homestand, to play," Quenneville said. "[He’s] getting in practice here, [we’re] getting him some good skates [and] he looks like he's ready."
Crawford also is taking steps toward getting back into the lineup. He's been out a week since getting run into by Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks.
"Corey skated prior to practice, did well, so we'll get him on again [Wednesday] and hopefully he keeps progressing," Quenneville said.
Ray Emery (5-0-0, 2.17 goals-against average) will get his third straight start in Crawford’s absence, and Henrik Karlsson will be back on the bench as the backup.
On the other side, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault didn’t reveal who would start in goal for Vancouver – but Corey Schneider left the ice first and occupied the net that most opposing starters do when playing at United Center.
The Canucks will get forward David Booth back for the first time this season, after a groin injury that happened during training-camp on-ice testing kept him out for the first 14 games.
Here’s a look at how the lineups for the Canucks and Blackhawks might look for the next installment of their ongoing rivalry:
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond – Ryan Kesler – Jannik Hansen
Chris Higgins – Jordan Schroeder – Zack Kassian
David Booth – Maxim Lapierre – Dale Weise
Dan Hamhuis – Alexander Edler
Jason Garrison – Kevin Bieksa
Keith Ballard – Chris Tanev
Injured: Manny Malhotra (eye, out for season)
Scratched: Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker, Aaron Volpatti
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp – Dave Bolland – Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Viktor Stalberg
Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger – Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith – Sheldon Brookbank
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Johnny Oduya
Nick Leddy – Michael Rozsival
Injuries: Brent Seabrook (day-to-day, lower body), Daniel Carcillo
(knee sprain, nearing return), Corey Crawford (day-to-day, upper body).
Scratches: Jamal Mayers