BLACKHAWKS (9-5) at KINGS (9-7)
5:00PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 1150
HOMECOMING: After splitting the opening two games with the Blackhawks in Chicago, the Kings return to STAPLES Center with their sights set on taking a series lead with a win in Game 3 tonight. The Kings are 3-3 on home ice in the playoffs this season. The Blackhawks visited STAPLES Center just once during the regular season, pulling out a 5-3 win on February 3.
EARLY START: It’s an early game time for the Kings here in Los Angeles (5:00PM PST). They’ll need a strong start, performance wise, as well. Coming off of a game in which they buried six goals in the final 22 minutes, the Kings need a fast start to build on that momentum gained, rather than allowing Chicago to rebound. Can the Kings come out strong early on home ice tonight?
THE 70’S: While Jonathan Toews and Chicago’s top line were matched up with the Kings’ first unit for much of Game 2 Wednesday, the second line for the Kings flourished. Jeff Carter, centering Rookies Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, scored a hat trick, while the trio combined for four goals and three assists. Can the 70’s line continue their production, or attract some attention away from Anze Kopitar and the Kings’ top line tonight?
TOFFOLI: “We need to be better, and we need to be better tonight.”
LEVEL-HEADED: Although the Kings scored six unanswered goals Wednesday night in their 6-2 win in Game 2, they’re aware that Chicago is on the rebound, and not to be taken lightly. Kings Captain Dustin Brown set the tone for the team’s mindset after practice on Friday:
“They’re the defending Stanley Cup Champions, we’re well aware of how good a team they are and also how they’re going to be able to battle adversity,” Dustin Brown told reporters Friday. “We try and put ourselves in their situation. If we had six unanswered goals against us, how would we want to come out and play in Game 3? I think we’re well aware of how hard Game 3 is going to be.”
#NHL15DOUGHTY: Drew Doughty logged a game-high 27:29 minutes if ice time in the Kings’ 6-2 win Wednesday night, including the assist on the game-tying goal. Doughty also lasered home the Kings’ first goal in Chicago’s only previous visit to STAPLES Center this season on February 3, beating Corey Crawford to the top-right corner.
Can Doughty help spark the Kings’ offense from the blue-line tonight?