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Kings-Blackhawks Preview @NHLdotcom

Chicago has struggled on the road against the Los Angeles Kings this season. Hosting a game in the series, though, may not help change the Blackhawks' fortunes.

The Blackhawks look to beat the Kings for the first time in three games this season and end their struggles at the United Center on Sunday.

Chicago (34-17-9) has faced Los Angeles (26-26-9) twice, losing both games 5-2 on the road.

The Blackhawks enter this contest having lost three straight (0-2-1) overall, including twice at home. They're trying to hold on to fourth place in the Western Conference and home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs but have struggled at the United Center in recent weeks.

Chicago is 1-3-2 at home after an 8-1-0 stretch. This will be the teams' first meeting at the United Center since a 3-2 Kings overtime win on Dec. 30, 2007.

Despite their recent problems, the Blackhawks boast a strong home record at 15-5-6. Also, the Kings are 1-3-0 on the road after winning their previous five.

Chicago could use another big game from Jonathan Toews, especially if it struggles to contain Los Angeles again. Toews had his first career hat trick in the Blackhawks' 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Toews continues to be a bright spot for Chicago, posting eight goals and four assists in his last seven games. The 20-year-old center has a team-high 25 goals in 60 games, one more than he had in 64 contests as a rookie last season.

"He's gotten better every game," coach Joel Quenneville told the Blackhawks' official Web site. "We love that he's taking charge in addition to increasing his production. All year long, we've wanted to improve as a team and he's been doing it in his own game."

With winger Patrick Sharp (knee) out, Chicago needs Toews to continue his hot streak. Sharp, second on the team with 23 goals, will miss his seventh straight game.

Cristobal Huet remains a mainstay in net, making a franchise-record eight straight starts. He has struggled in his last two games, though, allowing nine goals in a little less than five periods.

Huet has started both of Chicago's games against Los Angeles, giving up eight goals.

But the Kings have scored twice in regulation over their last three games after finding the back of the net 15 times in their previous four. Los Angeles, which will be making the fourth stop on a five-game trip, lost 2-1 to Detroit on Friday night.

The Kings struggled offensively again, even with captain Dustin Brown making his return after missing two games to be with his wife for the birth of their child. Brown, second on the team with 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists), had two goals and an assist in a win over Chicago on Jan. 29.

Kings left wing Alexander Frolov has four goals and seven assists in his last four games versus the Blackhawks. He scored Los Angeles' only goal Friday, giving him four in his last seven games.

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