LAST 10: Chicago 4-6-0; Los Angeles 2-6-2
Season Series: Saturday's clash marks the third of four meetings between the Blackhawks and Kings this season. Each team has claimed a road victory, with Chicago earning a 2-1 triumph at Staples Center on Nov. 26 and Jonathan Quick responding with a 38-save shutout in a 2-0 win for Los Angeles at United Center on Dec. 28.
Big Story: All eyes will be on Jeff Carter, who is expected to make his Kings' debut on Saturday against the Blackhawks. The Kings, who sent Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday in exchange for Carter, hope he can help snap their current four-game losing skid and pump some life into the NHL's worst offense. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, will be without their captain Jonathan Toews as they embark on a two-game Southern California swing.
Blackhawks: After a season-threatening nine-game losing streak, Chicago responded nicely with four straight wins. The Hawks were in prime position to secure a fifth straight win with a 1-0 lead entering the final period Thursday on home ice, but Corey Crawford allowed three goals and the Dallas Stars went home with a 3-1 win.
Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville saw the defeat as a missed opportunity.
"It was there," Quenneville said. "It was right in our hands, and we let it get away. Everything was going in a real good way, and then we had a third period that you wonder where that came from."
Kings: L.A. has dropped out of the top eight in the West due to an inability to score -- they average 2.05 goals per game and haven't reached two goals in three of the four losses during their streak. Enter Carter - who notched a hat trick in his final game with the Jackets on Tuesday.
But while there's an abundance of positive energy in the locker room after the recent transaction, the Kings aren't looking at him as a savior.
"We can't look to one guy [Carter] and say he's going to come in here and be the answer," Kings' defenseman Willie Mitchell said. "Is he going to be part of the answer? Absolutely. But part of the answer is all of us doing a better job of putting some pucks in the back of the net."
Injury Report: Toews (upper body) has missed the Hawks' last two games and did not make the trip to Southern California. Defensemen Niclas Hjalmarsson (undisclosed) and Steve Montador (upper body) are also out for Chicago. … Simon Gagne (concussion) has missed nearly two months for Los Angeles, while Kevin Westgarth (hand) is listed as questionable.
Stat Pack: When Dallas rallied past Chicago in the third period on Thursday, it marked the first regulation loss of the season for the Hawks when leading after two periods. Chicago was previously 23-0-2 in such situations.
Puck Drop: It's no secret that the Kings acquired Carter to address their offensive problems. But while most of the excitement surrounds Carter's arrival for that reason, former teammate Mike Richards is glad to reunite with his ex-linemate from their days as members of the Philadelphia Flyers -- both were traded away last summer.
"[Carter] is a good player," Richards said. "He's easy to play with. It won't take us long to get that chemistry back."