7:00 PM, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Comcast Sports Net Chicago
Radio: 720 AM WGN
Tonight is the 3rd of 4 meetings between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. The road teams have won both of the previous games this season. The Kings are one of the biggest disappointments this season in the NHL. They are currently in 11th place in the Western Conference. Their poor play lead them to fire a head coach in December and make a big splash in the trade market this week. Tonight will be the Kings debut of Jeff Carter in LA. He was acquired from Columbus for Jack Johnson and a first round pick on Thursday. Carter will be on the same line with his former Flyers team mate Mike Richards.
The Kings initially played better under new head coach Darryl Sutter, but have struggled as of late. They come into tonight on a 4 game losing streak. They are the lowest scoring team in all of hockey. You would think a team with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, and Dustin Penner would be able to score more goals than they do. It must be very frustrating to be a Kings fan. They are like watching the Blackhawks power play for all 60 minutes! I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Expect more clown shoes from the Hawks power play tonight as the Kings have the 5th best penalty kill in the league. Jonathan Quick will get the start in net tonight, who shut out the Hawks back on December 28th. He is one of the best goalies in the NHL with a 1.96 goals against average and a .931 save %. He has 24 wins on the season, but could easily be the league leader if the Kings could score more goals for him.
The Blackhawks need a big bounce back win tonight after that horrible 3rd period against Dallas on Thursday. They need to take advantage of a defensive core that will be shifting around after the trade of Jack Johnson. Quick is great goalie so they will have to keep firing a show a lot of patience, much like they did against Jimmy Howard last Tuesday night. Getting out to an early lead will go a long way. The Kings do not have the confidence on offense to try and comeback from a 2 or 3 goal lead. The Blackhawks will be without Jonathan Toews, Steve Montador and Niklas Hjalmarrson tonight and tomorrow. It looks like Hjalmarrson came back too early from his concussion and Montador is suffering from Kim Johnson syndrome. I don’t expect much in line changes from Thursday, and Q loves to play John Scott against LA so expect him out there tonight. Corey Crawford should be in net tonight and look for Ray Emery to start tomorrow in Anaheim.