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Blackhawks chase history vs. Kings

by Mike Battaglino

KINGS (5-5-2) at BLACKHAWKS (11-0-3)


Last 10: Los Angeles 5-3-2; Chicago 7-0-3

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Blackhawks ruined the Kings' season-opener banner-raising with a 5-2 win at Staples Center on Jan. 19. They play again March 25 in Chicago.

Big story: The Blackhawks at 14 are two games away from tying the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks for most consecutive games with a point to start a season. Chicago can tie the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers with No. 15 on Sunday.

"We're going one day and one game at a time here, but we like our start, we like the way we're playing, the consistency, the balance," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Friday's 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks. "We've got a tough opponent next, and let's get excited about it."

The Kings haven't won more than two games in a row this season after taking a 3-0 lead in each Stanley Cup Playoff series on their way to the championship.

"Well, they're not invincible. I mean, somebody's going to beat them," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Saturday of the Blackhawks. "Somebody just did (the Ducks in a shootout Tuesday). So we'd like to try again. They're not on a different planet than us."

Team Scope:

Kings: Los Angeles has allowed one goal in each of its back-to-back wins with Jonathan Bernier in net. In a 2-1 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, the Kings allowed 13 shots.

"I thought we've been very solid," Bernier said. "We work hard. We backcheck hard, and that's why they don't get too many shots. The biggest thing is we get our battle in our zone. By winning our battles, we're out of our zone as quick as they come in."

Sutter would not say, but Jonathan Quick could be back in goal, taking a 3-4-2 record and 2.70 goals-against average with him. Last season, Quick's GAA was 1.95.

"He's had a really good week. Quite honest, a lot of his issues I take from our coaching staff not doing a good enough job with him -- meaning, starting with me," Sutter said. "When you have limited practices, limit practice time, you need more quality out of your goaltenders, and I should pay more attention to it during practice."

The Kings practiced Saturday in Los Angeles before flying to Chicago.

Blackhawks: This is the third of a seven-game homestand for the Blackhawks. One of the more impressive facts about their season-opening streak is that most of it has taken place on the road (10 of the first 12).

"The chemistry that we have in our room, I think helped us to be on the road for that long a time, to build it with each other, and lines and such." Bryan Bickell said this week. "I know last year we didn't have the greatest road record (18-18-5) but out home record was outstanding (27-8-6). Hopefully this year we can keep it the same, and have the road record like we are now. To be successful, we need to do both."

Ray Emery will again start in place of injured Corey Crawford (upper body). Emery, 4-0-0, has allowed nine goals.

"It's a nice tandem, both guys have played well all year, and I think Ray showed that he wants to play, can play," Quenneville said.

Who's hot: Kings forward Anze Kopitar has eight points in the past nine games. Forward Mike Richards has seven points in the past eight, and forward Dustin Brown has five in seven. … Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is on an eight-game point streak and has at least one point in 13 of Chicago's 14 games. Forward Marcus Kruger has five points (three goals) in five games.

Injury report: The Kings are without three defensemen: Alec Martinez (upper body), Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back). … Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo (knee) is out but closer to returning. Steve Montador (upper body) is day-to-day.

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