With the Blackhawks leading 3-2 and just under five minutes remaining in the game, Brent Seabrook launched himself into David Backes in the corner of Chicago’s defensive zone in an ill-advised attempt to provide some more of the nastiness that has characterized the series so far. Seabrook’s hit was high, and he made a good deal of contact with Backes’ head; the Blues’ captain left the game and did not return.
Whether the hit warranted the five-minute major and game misconduct that Seabrook received for it is certainly a fair question; there is no denying that Backes turned his head into the check just prior to hit, and Seabrook didn’t have much of a chance to adjust. Still, it was reckless and unnecessary; it wouldn’t be surprising to see Chicago’s No. 7 suspended for a game or two. His lack of a disciplinary history suggests a reasonable estimate would be one or two games; those who are predicting more are out to lunch.
St. Louis tied the game on the ensuing power play and won it in overtime when Corey Crawford flubbed a Barret Jackman shot from the boards. The Blackhawks will need to hole serve at home to have any real chance at winning this series, and that will be a tall order if Seabrook is unavailable. On the other hand, the Blues will undeniably miss Backes — they are rather thin at center, and it seems unlikely that he will return to the lineup anytime soon judging by his state after the hit.
A brutal but relatively clean series took an unfortunate turn at the end of Game 2. This is a pattern that Chicago needs to do all it can to avoid; the team is far more effective when focusing on what it does well. On Saturday afternoon, the Blackhawks appeared more intent on matching St. Louis’ physicality than playing their preferred style, and it cost them another game.