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Blackhawks' Keith back from suspension for Game 2

Chicago's top defenseman to return to first pair against St. Louis; Blues' Brouwer misses practice, expected to play

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

Western Conference First Round

St. Louis leads best-of-7 series 1-0

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, CSN-CH, FS-MW

ST. LOUIS -- Duncan Keith will return from a suspension for the Chicago Blackhawks, but no other lineup changes are expected for the Blackhawks or St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their Western Conference First Round series at Scottrade Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-MW, CSN-CH).

Keith received a six-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety on April 1 for a high-sticking incident with the Minnesota Wild's Charlie Coyle on March 29.

Keith will play with Niklas Hjalmarsson on the Blackhawks' top defense pairing. Trevor van Riemsdyk, who played with Hjalmarsson while Keith was out, likely will move to the third pairing. Rookie Viktor Svedberg is expected to play with Brent Seabrook on the second pair.

Rookie Erik Gustafsson, who played 14:18 in Game 1, likely will be a healthy scratch.

"We watched [Svedberg and Gustafsson] play down the stretch," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Both guys played well in Game 1. Guys are different in ways. Viktor played with [Seabrook] down the stretch. I thought they formed a real good pair. And [Gustafsson] played well. So it's nice to have options moving forward."

St. Louis forward Troy Brouwer didn't participate in the morning skate, but coach Ken Hitchcock said Brouwer will play. Brouwer had five hits in Game 1 and brings a strong physical presence. The Blues outhit the Blackhawks 41-24 in Game 1.

Hitchcock wasn't happy about that result because it meant the Blues didn't have the puck as much as the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks outshot the Blues 35-18 and generated more scoring chances. Hitchcock said the best way to change it is by finishing more checks and winning more puck battles.

"There's a difference between finished checks and hits," Hitchcock said. "Finished checks means you get the puck back. Finished checks means you win a board battle to regain possession or you force mistakes. Those are the elements of anybody's game when you play against skill. You need to control that part. Anybody can run around and make body contact. But it's the job of getting the puck back immediately you need to have if you expect to beat teams like Chicago. If they have the puck all night you have no chance."

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks. Goalie Brian Elliott will start for the Blues.

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Brandon Mashinter - Teuvo Teravainen - Tomas Fleischmann

Andrew Desjardins - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Viktor Svedberg - Brent Seabrook

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: None

Scratched: Richard Panik, Dale Weise, Erik Gustafsson, David Rundblad, Christian Ehrhoff


Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Patrik Berglund - Alexander Steen - David Backes

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Injured: Steve Ott (colitis, hamstrings)

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Magnus Paajarvi, Petteri Lindbohm, Robert Bortuzzo, Anders Nilsson

Status report: Ott is practicing but not cleared to play yet. He skated in Brouwer's spot during line rushes at the morning skate. ... Weise and Panik will be scratched for the second straight game.  

Who's hot: Elliott had 35 saves in Game 1 for his first postseason shutout.

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