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Busy week for Kings begins in Chicago

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings


ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Tonight marks the third and final meeting with the Blackhawks this season and the Kings’ second of two visits to Chicago’s United Center. The Blackhawks are playing the first of a two-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday night. The Kings are playing the first of a two-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 2-1 OT loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the United Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Kris Versteeg skated on the first line, playing the right wing alongside Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work and are the presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to start in net.

FORWARDS

LUCIC – KOPITAR – VERSTEEG
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – BROWN
CLIFFORD – SHORE – LEWIS
(ANDREOFF)

DEFENSEMEN

SCUDERI – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – SCHENN
(MCBAIN)

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)

FORMER HAWKS: Defenseman Rob Scuderi, who played 17 games with Chicago earlier this season, returns for the first time since being dealt to the Kings on February 26. “The cultures are the same,” Scuderi said of the two teams. “You have the same type of winning attitude within the room, in the fact that the guys want to push each other, become a better team.” Forward Kris Versteeg, who spent parts of five seasons with Chicago, including two Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and 2015, returns for the second time this season. “It’s always exciting to come back and play old teams,” Versteeg said. “It gives you a little added energy, that’s pretty much the biggest thing.”

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings have gone 1-1-0 against the Blackhawks in their two previous meetings with Chicago this season. The Kings lost 4-2 in their first visit to the United Center on November 2, and won 3-2 in OT in Chicago’s lone visit to STAPLES Center. Anze Kopitar leads all Kings players in points scored against the Blackhawks this season with three (1G, 2A). Jonathan Quick has started both games against Chicago, stopping 42 of a combined 48 shots faced.

SLUMP-CITY: The Kings have not won a regular season game at the United Center since March 25, 2013, dropping their last four visits. Tyler Toffoli has not scored a goal in 10 games, and is without an even-strength marker in the last 23. “You just have to find a way,” Toffoli said following the morning skate. Can Toffoli and the Kings snap a pair of slumps tonight against the Blackhawks?

SEEING CHRISTIAN: The Kings will face Christian Ehrhoff for the first time since he was dealt in the Rob Scuderi trade on February 26. Ehrhoff, in four games with the Blackhawks, has registered one assist, an even rating, averaging 16:02 minutes per game. “I’m happy to be here, I’m excited,” said Ehrhoff. “Obviously in the end LA didn’t work out for me, it’s a change of scenery, I’m looking forward here to the challenge and moving forward toward the end of the season.”

FOUR-IN-SIX: This week will be a trying one for the Kings, who will play four games over a six-day span against a heavy set of teams all safely set to secure postseason berths. The Kings will begin it by playing the 11th of their 12 back-to-back sets scheduled this season, hopping through various time-zones just hours after daylight savings time. “We’ve all been through this enough times to know what it takes to get ready,” Dustin Brown said. “Just getting there, getting ready to play a game that’s really three hours earlier for us is something we’ve done before, so it’s just getting ready for it.”

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network with coverage starting just prior to puck drop at 5:00 PM PST. You can listen to the Kings’ very own Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action live over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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