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Thin defense has effect on Duncan Keith

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



WASHINGTON — Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is accustomed to playing big minutes and taking long shifts. But even he felt a bit worn out Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

The Hawks were forced to play with four defensemen for more than six minutes to start the third period because Brian Campbell (left leg) was unavailable and Brent Seabrook was in the penalty box for his fight with Jason Chimera late in the second.

‘‘That was tough,’’ said Keith, who had an assist, four shots and three blocks in nearly 31 minutes. ‘‘We had four [defensemen] for a good part of the game and five for most of the game. It wears on you, especially with a team like them with a lot of speed. Their guys do a good job of cycling the puck and playing down low.’’

Even though his five-minute penalty had expired, Seabrook wasn’t able to take a shift until after the Capitals’ Brooks Laich scored at 6:23 of the third. That’s a lot of time to be without two of your top defensemen.

‘‘They battled and did what they had to do, especially when you’ve got to try and score a goal and you’ve got to get the ‘D’ involved,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We were looking for a whistle to get [Seabrook] out there.’’

Later in the third, the fatigue showed up even with Seabrook playing.

‘‘We had some shifts where we iced the puck,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘I had to call a timeout because not just the ‘D’ [was] tired, the forwards were.’’

Injury updates

Campbell played just 7:05 against the Capitals, taking only two shifts in the second period (one on the power play). He didn’t practice in Washington after sitting out the shootout loss Wednesday to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Quenneville wouldn’t commit to Campbell playing against the San Jose Sharks tonight at the United Center. Campbell wasn’t made available for comment.

‘‘It’s day-to-day right now,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘He tried to go out there and did his best.’’

Center Dave Bolland is still out with a concussion.



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