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25 IN 25: Keith's Teeth

On May 23, 2010, Duncan Keith lost 10 teeth and returned to the game to help the Blackhawks punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc /

To celebrate 25 years of Blackhawks hockey at the United Center, looks back on the top 25 moments with '25 in 25'

There aren't many instances when a player has 10 teeth knocked out by a flying puck and considers himself lucky.

Then again, there aren't many players like the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith.

The veteran defenseman was the definition of tough when he took a puck to the mouth during Game 4 of the 2010 Western Conference finals at the United Center.

During the second period, a puck off the stick of the Sharks' Patrick Marleau struck Keith square in the mouth and the result was a bloody mess.

Various reports at the time said Keith lost either six or seven teeth, but in reality the damage was in double-digits.

"I actually ended up losing the top four and the bottom six from that," Keith said. "I feel lucky it didn't get my lips and I'd need stitches in that regard. It just knocked my teeth out."

After heading to the dressing room for some urgent dental work, Keith was back on the ice seven minutes later and helped the Blackhawks to a 4-2 victory that sent them to the Stanley Cup Final where they eventually defeated the Flyers to capture their first championship in 49 years.

Video: 25 in 25: Keith's Teeth

What was Keith's main motivation to getting back on the ice?

"I didn't want to go back to San Jose," said Keith, who ended up logging a game-high 29:02 of ice time in Game 4. "It's a long flight to San Jose and I was just thinking, 'We have to finish off this game so we can get a break before the Cup finals.' We were able to do that, we won that Game 4 here at our home arena, which is nice to kind of build that momentum to get some rest before Philly. That's kind of where my mind was."

Following the game, Keith pointed out that his damaged mouth, "is a long way from the heart."

Being the warrior that he is, Keith said it never crossed his mind to sit the rest of the game after the incident.

"Not at all," Keith said. "My legs and everything were working good and my brain was fine so I didn't really want to come off. They told me I had to go down below real quick and they just took out whatever they needed to and they put a few shots of numbing in there and I didn't feel anything. It was like nothing happened."

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: Keep your smile healthy with the Duncan Keith floss holder, presented by @deltadentalil!The first 10,000 fans at tonight's game will take one home 😁

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