Seabrook scratched for Sunday’s game vs. Kings

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Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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by Scott King

A surprising lineup change was announced following Sunday’s optional morning skate. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton told the media Brent Seabrook would be out of the lineup against the LA Kings Sunday night.

“Well we want to get Gilbert in and it’s a back to back, so it’s a good opportunity to give Seabs a rest and see what Gilbert has,” Colliton said of the move.

When asked how the three-time Stanley Cup champ took it, Colliton responded: “It is what it is. Coach’s decision.” … “I don’t think anybody’s okay with not playing.”

Sunday will be the second time Seabrook has been a healthy scratch in his career. The first came on January 9 of 2018 at Ottawa. Technically, the defenseman in under contract for 400 more regular season games after Sunday.

Seabrook has one goal and +/- rating of -5 in nine games with Chicago this season.

In the midst of a four-game losing streak and after a disappointing 4-0 loss on the road to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, perhaps the “coach’s decision” was made to motivate the team and not solely to get Seabrook some rest.

Gilbert played in the Hawks’ season opener vs. the Flyers in Prague this year and logged another NHL game with Chicago last season.

Robin Lehner will start in net and forward Drake Caggiula will go in for Zack Smith.

Need more power

The Blackhawks power play needs quick improvement to score some goals and provide momentum and confidence to 5-on-5 play. The Hawks are 3-for-29 on the power play and 0-for-16 in their past four games.

“I think it’s execution,” Colliton said Sunday. “There are plays there we haven’t made. I think we’ve also made plays that we haven’t finished on, and trying to do it more consistently, whether it’s faceoffs, whether it’s breaking pressure.

“For the most part, on the power play, a lot of the times you score you make an initial play at the net then you recover it and there are plays available. I’d like to see us do that a little more often.”

Know thy opponent

The Kings have lost two straight, giving up five goals in each game and have lost five of their past seven, including a 5-1 decision at Minnesota on Saturday. Through 11 games, Los Angeles has allowed nine goals in the first seven minutes of first periods

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