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NHL PLAYOFFS

Blackhawks ready to face the Kings without Duncan Keith

June 06, 2013|By David Wharton
  • The Chicago Blackhawks will face the L.A. Kings in Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series without the aid of player Duncan Keith. The defenseman was suspended for one game for hitting Jeff Carter in the mouth with his hockey stick.
The Chicago Blackhawks will face the L.A. Kings in Game 4 of their Western… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference final, the Chicago Blackhawks seemed fairly accepting of the NHL's decision to suspend defenseman Duncan Keith for one game.

His absence could prove critical with the Kings trying to tie the series at two games apiece Thursday night at Staples Center. Keith was penalized for smacking Kings forward Jeff Carter across the mouth with his stick moments after the two had tussled.

"They made a decision," Chicago winger Viktor Stalberg said of the league. "We'll respect that."

The Blackhawks pointed out that this isn't the first time they have headed into a big game without a key player. Injuries have a way of making that happen in hockey.

"You know, we were missing some part of the season some key guys and we find a way to win," winger Marian Hossa said. "It's unfortunate what happened."

Keith normally shoulders a lion's share of the ice time for the Blackhawks. Coach Joel Quenneville said he expects to spread that time evenly among the other defensemen.

Sheldon Brookbank figures to join in the effort, seeing his first action in the postseason.

"It's a great opportunity for him," Quenneville said. "But you got to commend him on how his attitude has been throughout these entire playoffs knowing he hasn't gotten a chance yet to play."

ALSO:

A stitched-up Jeff Carter moves on to the next game

Blackhawks' Duncan Keith is suspended for Game 4 against Kings

Kings' Jonathan Quick, Chicago's Corey Crawford have had their moments

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