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Blackhawks-Kings Preview @NHL
Blackhawks-Kings Preview

GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (9-12-0) at Los Angeles Kings (15-7-1).

TIME: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Mark Bell's recent hot streak has pushed the Chicago Blackhawks into the middle of the pack in the Central Division.

Bell will try to extend the longest goal-scoring streak of his career when the Blackhawks continue their West Coast road trip against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blackhawks dropped a 3-1 decision Tuesday to the Vancouver Canucks, with Bell scoring in his fourth straight game. He had just two goals in 17 games prior to his run.

Before this season, Chicago's first-round pick in the 1998 draft scored in two straight games seven times. Bobby Hull holds the team record by scoring a goal in 10 straight games during the 1968-69 season.

Los Angeles also is the last team to hold Bell without a goal during their last meeting on Nov. 11. Overall, Bell has scored three goals against the Kings in 13 games.

Bell's streak has tied him for the team scoring lead with Tyler Arnason and Pavel Vorobiev.

Chicago's loss to Vancouver snapped the Blackhawks' first three-game winning streak since February 2004. Chicago has won six of its last nine after starting out 3-9.

"We're moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do, a lot of improvement to do," said goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who stopped 19 shots. "We're on the right path, and if we continue to improve we'll be a pretty good team soon."

The Kings saw their three-game winning streak halted Thursday by the Nashville Predators, 4-3. Derek Armstrong scored twice and Joe Corvo added a goal, all in the third period for Los Angeles.

"There is not a lot of satisfaction in the way we came back," said Kings coach Andy Murray. "We wanted those two points desperately. Nashville has great players and good team speed. We made a couple of mistakes early and they capitalized on them."

Los Angeles needs its top scoring line to continue to be successful. In 14 of the Kings' 15 wins this season, the line of Pavol Demitra, Alexander Frolov, and Craig Conroy have combined for 29 goals and 44 assists.

The trio has tallied two goals and seven assists in the Kings' seven losses.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 25): Blackhawks - 18 points, 3rd place, 16 PB, Central Division. Kings - 31 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Bell, 8 goals; Kyle Calder, 11 assists; Bell, Vorobiev and Arnason, 15 points; Matthew Barnaby, 49 PIM. Kings - Frolov, 12 goals; Demitra, 22 assists and 33 points; Sean Avery, 71 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 25): Blackhawks - Power play: 14 percent (18 for 128), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent (138 for 172), 24th. Kings - Power play: 17.0 percent (25 for 147), 19th. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (120 for 141), 5th.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Khabibulin (7-11-0, 0 SO, 3.41 GAA); Craig Anderson (2-1-0, 0, 4.55). Kings - Mathieu Garon (7-4-0, 0, 3.04); Jason LaBarbera (8-3-1, 0, 2.59).

SEASON SERIES: Kings, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 11; Kings, 4-2. At Chicago, Eric Belanger had a goal and assist, and Michael Cammalleri, Frolov, and Conroy also scored for the Kings.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 5-8-0 on the road; Kings - 9-3-0 at home.

Associated Press
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