"We might have seven defensemen [playing]," Blackhawks coach Joel Quennevillle told reporters two hours before puck drop against the Winnipeg Jets.
Keith missed Chicago's last game while sick and Chicago lost 2-1 against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center and also missed practice Saturday. Getting him back should help the Blackhawks' puck possession, but Quenneville's news that one of the forwards will likely sit in favor of a defensemen raised a few eyebrows.
Quenneville said the move wasn't because of an "ailment," which means it's probably a benching. He didn't say which forward would watch as a healthy scratch and didn't say which defenseman would play up front.
In the past it's been Sheldon Brookbank who plays forward when called upon, usually shifting at right wing on the third line. If that holds true, either Michael Kostka or Michal Rozsival will play the right point on the third defense pairing next to Nick Leddy.
The move comes on the heels of Chicago (32-9-12) earning one point in a mid-week back-to-back set at the Detroit Red Wings and Wild this past Wednesday and Thursday. Quenneville wasn't happy with his team's play on the offensive end of the ice against the Wild, who out-skated the Blackhawks.
This will be the Blackhawks' last home game until March 1, when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last game of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field.
"We had a real good homestand and a very ordinary, at best, road trip," Quenneville said. "So, let's take care of business at home, because we're not going to be here for an extended amount of time."
"We're going to have to control the puck more than we did in those two games," Maurice said. "Simplicity is key for us. At the end of the day, what's important for us is no self-inflicted wounds against a team that's going to get their own chances on their own skill level."
Here are the projected lineups for the Jets and Blackhawks:
Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (rotator cuff surgery)