The Chicago Blackhawks have ruled star defenseman Duncan Keith out for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning with an injured left hand. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the organization is hopeful Keith will be able to return to the lineup for Sunday’s death match against the rival Vancouver Canucks.
The Hawks could have used him last night as they were unable to hold a third period lead against the Panthers in South Beach. Chicago was able to steal the victory from the jaws of defeat, but adding their marquee defenseman back to the mix would help the team protecting those tight leads at the end of the game. They can thank Corey Crawford and his 41 saves for last night’s win. Then again, with Keith’s offense in the lineup, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have been sweating the 3rd period anyway.
If there were any team in the league to get a member of the Blackhawks motivated to return to the lineup, it would be the Canucks. In the meantime, we’ll see how the Chicago is able to perform in the second game of their back-to-back tonight in Tampa. Guys like Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vinny Lecavalier will try to make the most of their opportunity; while back-up goaltender Ray Emery will try to pick up the slack.