NEW YORK, N.Y. - Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith was suspended for Game 4 of the Western Conference final for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face in Game 3 Tuesday.
Keith played a team-high 26:47 in the Game 3 loss that cut Chicago's series lead to 2-1. He won't be available for Thursday's game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, forcing coach Joel Quenneville to make a change.
Asked earlier Wednesday what he would do if Keith were suspended, Quenneville didn't want to go there.
"Dunks is important in all areas," Quenneville said during his off-day press conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. "We talk about special teams, you talk about big minutes, you talk about how we defend, get activated on the back end. His leadership, his compete level. He's everything you want in a defenceman."
If Sheldon Brookbank gets the call to replace Keith, it would be his first game since April 27.
In the second period of Game 3, Carter slashed Keith on his glove-less hand behind the net. Keith retaliated by lifting his stick up on Carter. He was given a double-minor penalty and said after the game it was an accident.
"Obviously, I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him," Keith said. "I felt bad. I'm glad to see that he came back. It was just a scuffle. It was an accident."
Carter led the Western Conference with 26 goals during the regular season. His mid-season arrival from Columbus last year was a factor in the Kings' improbable surge to their first Stanley Cup title.