Monday, April 21, 2014
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Preview: Blues At Blackhawks

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[April 21, 2014]  The Chicago Blackhawks face an uphill climb if they plan to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. After dropping the first two contests, Chicago looks to claw its way back into its Western Conference first-round series when it hosts the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 on Monday. Making the Blackhawks' bid to repeat all the more challenging is the loss of defenseman Brent Seabrook, who was suspended three games by the NHL for his hit to the head of St. Louis captain David Backes on Saturday afternoon.

Seabrook was assessed a charging major and a game misconduct, which led to Vladimir Tarasenko scoring during a 6-on-4 advantage with seven seconds remaining in the third period to forge a tie. Defenseman Barret Jackman capped the comeback by tallying 5:50 into overtime as the Blues claimed a 4-3 victory. "We might have played into their hands, but we've got to get back to our hockey," Chicago's Brandon Saad said.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDSI, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), CSN (Chicago)

ABOUT THE BLUES: Coach Ken Hitchcock wasn't too forthcoming with information on Backes (upper body), saying on Sunday that "he's upright and that's about it right now." Patrik Berglund, who has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, could return to the lineup should Backes be unable to compete. "I told the boys (Saturday) I can't take this anymore," Berglund said. "Hopefully, I will heal fast and be able to help them out on the ice. It's easier that way."

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: After complimenting Corey Crawford for his play in Game 1, coach Joel Quenneville agreed with his goaltender's assessment that he needs to be better if Chicago is going to rally in this series. "He said he needs to be better, and he needs to be better," Quenneville told reporters on Sunday. Crawford made 48 saves in Thursday's 4-3 triple-overtime loss in Game 1 but yielded a late third-period goal in both contests that ultimately led to the Blackhawks' undoing.

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  1. An unidentified Blackhawks player was heard to say "Wakey wakey, Backes" as the Blues captain struggled to his feet after the hit. "I saw them talking to him," St. Louis RW Ryan Reaves said. "It makes it a little more gutless."

  2. With Seabrook sidelined, Chicago D Sheldon Brookbank is the likely candidate to be inserted into the lineup. Brookbank averaged 12:53 of ice time in 48 games during the regular season.

  3. Hitchcock described Blues C Vladimir Sobotka's health as "average right now" after he was involved in a knee-on-knee collision with Blackhawks LW Bryan Bickell.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Blues 2

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