No, the murmur of boos throughout the United Center on Tuesday night was not some cloying phonetic salute to Nikolai Khabibulin. These were simply boos, voices of displeasure, and they only bled into a cascade of happy cheers when the veteran netminder skated to the bench.
Five days earlier, the Blackhawks’ backup goalie was strafed for six goals. Five days later, Khabibulin got back in the mix to erase bad memories and instead wound up looking like a guy with post-traumatic stress issues.
Only Jonathan Toews being there for consolation with a third career regular-season hat trick permitted a 6-5 victory over the Senators. A second straight game featuring four unanswered scores overall perpetuated some good vibes, though everything was wobbly for a spell.