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Chicago cursed; Kings look to solve Windy City in Game 2

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

KINGS (8-7) at BLACKHAWKS (9-4)


MADHOUSE MISSION: The Kings are looking to even this series with the Chicago Blackhawks after dropping the opening contest Sunday afternoon in a 3-1 loss. The Kings are 5-4 on the road during the postseason, now looking for a series-tying win in a building where the Blackhawks are a perfect 7-0 in the playoffs, and 18-2 in their last 20. Can the Kings take one at United Center?

WINLESS IN WINDY CITY: The Kings’ loss Sunday dropped their all-time playoff record against the Blackhawks to 2-9. The Kings are 2-2 at home, and 0-7 in Chicago in the teams’ playoff history. The Kings aren’t just looking to be the first team to beat the Blackhawks at United Center this postseason, they’re looking for their first-ever playoff victory in Chicago all together. Can they pull it off tonight?

WITHHOLD OPPORTUNITY: Chicago’s three goals in Game 1 Sunday afternoon were generated by the Kings’ own mistakes; A neutral zone turnover, failed attempts to clear their zone during a penalty kill, and a poorly judged pinch which Chicago transitioned into a 3-on-1 rush. The Blackhawks are as good as any team in the league, if not the best, at pouncing on opposition’s blunders. Can the Kings limit their mistakes tonight?

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Since 2010, the Kings have played in 12 playoff series. They’ve won the first game in six of those series, and have advanced each time. They’ve also lost the first game six times, including this series, and have only come back to win two of those five previous series. Can the Kings begin to dig their way out of a 1-0 series deficit tonight in Chicago?

THE CARTER AND THE GANG: Jeff Carter led the Kings in shots in Game 1 Sunday with six, and recorded his 12th point of the playoffs with an assist on the Kings’ only goal of the afternoon. Carter’s young line mates, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, produced the Kings’ lone tally in Game 1. Can the 70’s line create more offense tonight in Game 2?

THE MARIAN EFFECT: Marian Gaborik leads the NHL with nine goals this postseason, and is second overall in points with 15, only behind Anze Kopitar’s 19. Gaborik was held off the scoresheet Sunday afternoon, but his childhood friend, and Slovakian teammate Marian Hossa registered two assists in Game 1. Can the Kings’ Marian top Chicago’s Marian tonight in Game 2?

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