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Hallo-Weekend: Previewing LA Kings vs Blues & Hawks

by Jesse Cohen @KingsMenPodcast /

With Halloween looming, the LA Kings are facing a pair of familiar specters from the Central Division in the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues this weekend.

The Kings have already been subjected to a season's worth of horrors, losing Marian Gaborik and Jonathan Quick for what is expected to be an extended portion of the season.

With two games remaining before Halloween, let's hope that the Kings come home with plenty of treats and no tricks.

That is, of course, unless they happen to be hat tricks.

The 5 Scariest Things Facing the LA Kings this Halloween

Games on Back-to-Back Days

The Kings play their first back-to-back games of the season this weekend.
On Saturday, they will face-off against the Blues before heading to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks Sunday.

The upcoming opponents are coming off a 2015-16 season that saw a reversal of fortune from recent history.

The Blackhawks, winner of the Stanley Cup in three of the previous six seasons, were defeated by the Blues in a seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs.
The Blues went on to the Western Conference Finals, the first time they advanced past the first round in four years and the first time they appeared in the Conference Finals since 2001.

The Kings have faced both teams twice in their last six playoffs appearances, defeating the Blues twice and splitting a pair of Western Conference Final appearances against the Hawks in 2013 and 2014.

Heading into the weekend, the Kings are in the midst of a four-game win streak. However, they have needed overtime or the shootout in each of those games.

With the club's goaltending question far from answered, playing four games in three cities over a six-day stretch won't be easy.

Vladimir Tarasenko

Tarasenko scores Hat Trick vs. Kings

The 24-year-old Russian forward has quickly become one of the most feared goal scorers in the NHL.

Tallying 98 goals in 221 games over the last three seasons, Tarasenko is currently on pace to score 41 goals this season.

With just 267 NHL games played in his brief career, he is the only player with less than 300 games played to appear on the Active Goal Scorers top 120 list. In fact, Taylor Hall is the only other player on the list with fewer than 400 games.

While Tarasenko hasn't been particularly deadly against the Kings, his 11 points in 11 games against them and his incredible offensive gifts always make him a terrifying opponent no matter what time of year the Kings have to face him.

Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny wraparound on Jonathan Quick

in 2012 and 2013, the St. Louis Blues suffered consecutive playoff losses at the hands of the Kings.

The following season they watched the Kings reach their third straight Conference Final and second Stanley Cup victory.

Lauded as peers of the Kings for years, the Blues saw the competitive gap between the two teams growing, not shrinking. It would make sense then for the Blues to seek out a bona fide "Kings Killer."

When St Louis native and offensive star Paul Stastny became available through free agency, his 11 goals and 31 points in 33 games against the Kings surely made him even more enticing to the Blues. The 30-year-old center is currently ranked 52nd in goals (189) and 38th in points (560) among active players.

Born in St. Louis, his father is former Blues forward and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Peter Stastny. Putting up points against the Kings is something of a tradition for the Stastny father-son duo, as Peter scored 15 points in 17 games against the Kings.

Patrick Kane

The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner is an especially terrifying Halloween fright for the Kings.

Kane's 10 goals and 30 points in 30 regular season games against the Kings is impressive, but what makes Kane so haunting is the memory of his hat trick in Game 5 of the 2013 Conference Final...

Patrick Kane Double OT Series-Winning Goal against Kings

...which included a series-clinching goal in double overtime.

Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews buries a one-timer past Jonathan Quick

Dubbed "Captain Serious," Toews' 13 goals and 29 points in 30 games against the Kings is seriously scary.

Offense, however, isn't the only way the Blackhawks captain can torment the Kings.

Toews is a perennial contender for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game. An award he won in 2012-13. The very same season Chicago defeated LA in the Western Conference Final.

Like Kane, the Blackhawks star-studded center represents a dynastic rival to the Kings and a constant offensive threat.

They both seem to thrive against the Kings. The fact that Toews hasn't scored yet this season only heightens the drama.

Like any classic monster, he's due to return and what better (worse) time than Halloween.

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