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Brent Seabrook returns to bolster blue line

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks

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Updated: December 27, 2011 8:10AM



ANAHEIM, Calif. — Coming off a stellar defensive effort against the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks’ blue line got another boost when Brent Seabrook returned to the lineup Friday after missing four games in a row.

“It was nice to get out there. It was nice to be in the dressing room before the game, joking around and having fun,” Seabrook said after the Hawks stormed back for a 6-5 victory against the Anaheim Ducks. “It was good just to be back. It was good being out there doing anything I can to help.”

Seabrook, who was hurt two weeks ago against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center, played 21:27 and finished with a plus-2 rating and three hits. He started off with Duncan Keith but was later paired with Niklas Hjalmarsson.

“He battled and competed,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He plays important minutes. He’s a big part of the team. He’s a big part of the leadership group as well.”

Did Seabrook feel limited?

“I felt good. That’s it,” he said. “I don’t want to go too much into it.”

Hjammer time?

The Ducks came into the game as one of the most penalized teams in the NHL, and they marched into the penalty box seven times.

The Hawks were able to convert twice on the power play, but Quenneville still felt changes were needed, especially after they faltered early on with the man advantage. One change was inserting Hjalmarsson at one point in the third period.

“I think they wanted to have two [defensemen] there on the ice,” said Hjalmarsson, who logged 1:01 of power-play time to increase his season total to 2:39. “I’m not planning to be on the power play. I’m not used to it, but it’s fun to be there on the PP. It’s not every day I’m out there.”

In and out

Winger Ben Smith was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.

Smith was recalled with great fanfare at the beginning of the circus trip and played against the Calgary Flames and Oilers but was a minus-3.

“We were going pretty good there [before losing to the Flames and Oilers],” Quenneville said. “I don’t like making a ton of changes or unnecessary changes. [Michael Frolik] got back in [after being injured], and we wanted to get [Bryan Bickell] going. I liked his game [against the Sharks on Wednesday].”

But Bickell only played 6:48 against the Ducks, dropping down to the fourth line as center Marcus Kruger moved up to wing on Dave Bolland’s line.

Defenseman Sean O’Donnell also stayed in the lineup for the third consecutive game, and enforcer John Scott was a healthy scratch after playing eight in a row.



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