KINGS (37-24-14) at BLACKHAWKS (45-24-6)
5:30 PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
WINDY CITY: Tonight marks the third and final meeting with the Blackhawks this season, and the Kings one and only visit to Chicago’s United Center. The Kings fell to the Blackhawks 4-1 on November 29 and won 4-3 on January 28 – both games played at STAPLES Center. Chicago is beginning a two-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday evening. The Kings are finishing their five-game road trip tonight; they’re coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
LINEUP NOTES: The Kings held a full-team practice on Sunday in Chicago; there was an optional pre-game skate this morning at the United Center. It is unclear which goalie will start, but it is presumed to be Jonathan Quick. The following shows how the Kings held forward line rushes on Sunday; the defensive pairings are taken from the Kings’ lineup Saturday night in Minnesota.
GABORIK – KOPITAR – WILLIAMS
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – SHORE – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – RICHARDS – NOLAN
(ANDREOFF – PEARSON)
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
REGEHR – SEKERA
MARTINEZ – GREENE
(MCNABB – MCBAIN)
ROAD WEARY: The Kings finish their five-game road trip tonight having gone 3-1-0 in the first four games. They’ve been extremely better on the road as of late; their mark away from STAPLES Center now sits at .500 with a 15-15-7 record. 10 of the Kings’ 15 road wins this season have come in their last 14 games away from Los Angeles – they’re 10-3-1 during that span. The Blackhawks have a 22-10-5 record on home ice at the United Center this season. Can the Kings pick up another crucial road victory tonight in Chicago?
PLAYOFF PICTURE: With 88 points in the standings coming into the night, the Kings are sitting just outside the Western Conference playoff picture. The Kings are one point behind the Calgary Flames for the Pacific Division’s third and final playoff seed, and three points behind the Vancouver Canucks for second in the division. The Kings are also just two points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second and final wild-card berth. Can the Kings gain some ground with a win tonight?
THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings have not visited Chicago’s United Center this season, they went 0-2-0 in their two regular season contests played their last season. In the Kings’ previous meeting with the Blackhawks on January 28 at STAPLES Center, the Kings beat Chicago 4-3. Jeff Carter scored two goals, and Jake Muzzin netted the game-winner with 3:37 to play in regulation. Jonathan Quick made 26 saves in the win.
JAKE STRIKES LATE
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Tonight’s game will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network, with coverage beginning at 5:00 PM PT. You can listen to the Kings’ very own Daryl Evans and Nick Nickson call the game live on AM 790 KABC.