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Blackhawks move van Riesmdyk to top defense pair

Will play with Hjalmarsson against Jets with Keith out; Seabrook returns

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (44-26-7) at JETS (31-39-7)

TV: 8 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, TSN3, NHL.TV

WINNIPEG -- The Chicago Blackhawks will be without defenseman Duncan Keith when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Friday.

The NHL suspended Keith indefinitely for a match penalty in a 4-1 road loss against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Spreading out Keith's workload will be a test for Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville; Keith's average ice time of 25:14 leads the team. Trevor van Riemsdyk will replace Keith on Chicago's top defensive pairing with Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"I think [everybody] is probably going to get a little more," Quenneville said. "Everybody is going to get more important minutes than they've been used to, but I think that can help us go along that they get exposure to top players and top situations."

Said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews of Keith's absence: "It's a challenge, no doubt. But as I've said, when we get those guys back, we'll be better for it. We've always done a good job of playing without guys like that in the lineup. There's no choice. We've got to step up and fill those holes."

Defenseman Brent Seabrook will return for the Blackhawks after missing one game because of illness. Center Artem Anisimov (lower body) also will dress after missing two games. However, forward Marian Hossa (illness) will be out; forward Dale Weise will dress in Hossa's place.

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson will play after being a healthy scratch for three games, and forward Brandon Mashinter will play after a six-game absence. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and forwards Richard Panik and Dennis Rasmussen will be healthy scratches as well.

Goaltender Scott Darling will make his eighth consecutive start for Chicago.

The Blackhawks are third in the Central Division, six points behind the second-place St. Louis Blues, as a stretch of four consecutive road games ends.

Toews has two assists in his past two games. …Wheeler has a six-game point streak (two goals, five assists). Scheifele has a five-game point streak (three goals, four assists).
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