After the St. Louis Blues topped the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime of Game 1 on Wednesday in their opening-round matchup of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks will get a much-needed boost back into their lineup as defenseman Duncan Keith returns from his six-game suspension.
Keith was suspended before the end of the regular season for slashing Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle in the face and missed the remaining five games of the regular season and the opening game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against St. Louis.
Keith returns for Game 2
The way that the Blackhawks played in the absence of Keith over the last six games has been impressive, as they went 3-0-2 in the final five regular-season games, and had a bad-bounce overtime goal against them in a tightly played Game 1 against the Blues last night.
The team expressed that it was happy with the game last night and knows that even though the result isn’t what it wanted, the team played well enough to have a chance to win.
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Keith’s return, added with the quality of play from Chicago in last night’s game, gives the Blackhawks a confidence boost heading into Game 2 against the Blues. It also means that the Chicago blue line will get a much-needed balance to the time-on-ice for the defensive core.
Corey Crawford played a fantastic game for someone who has recently come back from concussion issues, and the Blackhawks defense in front of him played as well as it could in a tightly contested game with the Blues.
With Keith returning to the lineup and adding not only an improvement on the defensive end, but also an improvement to the offensive side of things, the Blackhawks should expect to get a bump in the quality of the scoring chances they see in Game 2. Keith’s return means there will be an odd man out for the Blackhawks’ defensive group, and signs point to Viktor Svedberg being replaced for Keith. Puck drop for Game 2 between the Blues and Blackhawks is set for a 7 p.m. Central time start (hooray!) Friday on NBCSN.