Maatta, a 19-year-old rookie, did not play against the Columbus Blue Jackets after playing in 72 of Pittsburgh's first 73 games of the season. His production has decreased in recent weeks and he has been a minus in six of his past 12 games.
"Obviously, you want to play every game. You don't want to take games off," Maatta said. "But I feel like it was good for me. It's been a long season. It's been a lot of games. It's been a really new situation for me.
"I've never played this many games in my life."
Maatta has 28 points and nine goals in 72 games this season.
Defenseman Rob Scuderi took Maatta's place alongside defenseman Matt Niskanen on Friday while defensemen Deryk Engelland and Simon Despres formed Pittsburgh's third defensive pair. Maatta will reestablish his pairing with Niskanen against Chicago, but apparently will not resume his recent role on the first power-play unit.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said forward Bryan Bickell (upper body) is close to returning, but will not play Sunday. Chicago is targeting its game against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday for Bickell's return.
Goaltender Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks and will snap Pittsburgh's streak of facing five consecutive backup goaltenders.
"We were certainly comfortable with [Crawford] going into this season knowing that he was going to get the majority of the work load," Quenneville said. "He'll be the guy. I don't think goaltending has been that big of an issue for us this season."
Here are the expected lineups for the Penguins and Blackhawks:
Scratched: Simon Despres