Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 34 @ Chicago
December 15, 2013
4pm PST (7pm EST)
There’s no rest for the Los Angeles as just a day after beating the Senators in Ottawa, they are right back to work preparing for their 2013 Western Final rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, having just lost 7-3 in Toronto the previous night, the Hawks aren’t any more rested.
While there was plenty of excitement for Kings fans for their team’s first meetings with San Jose and Anaheim, Los Angeles’s first meeting of the year with the Blackhawks (in the Windy City, mind you) will prove to be just as exciting, if not more, as this is a battle between two of the best teams in hockey and two teams who slowly but surely built their respective clubs the right way before winning hockey’s ultimate prize.
Sunday marks the first of three meetings between the Kings and Hawks this season with Chicago winning last season’s series two games to one. The Kings hope to have better success against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
In order to have some early success against the Hawks, the Kings must contain Patrick Kane who leads Chicago with 19 goals and 44 points. Of course, few Kings fans have forgiven Kane for netting the series-winner in June that eliminated their team from the playoffs.
Patrick Sharp, who has 15 goals and 32 points for Chicago this season, has also had success against the Kings in recent years. Plus, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and defenseman Duncan Keith are all viable reasons for Los Angeles to step up their defensive game. Needless to say, the Kings do have their work cut out for them.
We all know what Martin Jones and even Ben Scrivens are capable of but at the Chicago end, the Blackhawks are missing netminder Corey Crawford with a groin injury. Yet, it hasn’t fazed the Hawks who are still rolling with rookie Antti Raanta manning the net and despite playing two periods against the Leafs on Saturday, it is likely he will get the start. As for Los Angeles, it's unclear which netminder will get the nod on Sunday.
The 23-6-5 Blackhawks lead the Western Conference while winning three-straight. But as great as they are this season, they still haven’t faced this Kings squad who are determined to end their road trip on a winning note. Something has to give.
Enjoy the game!