Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 58 vs. Chicago
February 3, 2014
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
The Los Angeles Kings enter their contest on Monday night having been shut out in three of their last six games. Worse, they have only been able to score three goals during that stretch - all courtesy of Anze Kopitar. But while the Kings hope to reverse their fortunes on Monday, they will have the unenviable task of doing it against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
After losing to them in five games in last spring's Western Final, the Kings have done no better against the Hawks this season having lost twice to them already. Monday night marks the third and final meeting between these two clubs and the first in Los Angeles.
The last time the Kings and Hawks met was at the United Center in Chicago back on December 30. The end result of said game was another in theme that has been the Los Angeles Kings as of late: great defense, no offense. Last game, Andrew Saad scored the game's only goal in a 1-0 Chicago win.
Speaking of Saad, he is on fire right now having scored three goals and two assists in his last three outings.
In addition to this being the first and only meeting between the Kings and Hawks at Staples Center, Monday night will also mark Jonathan Quick's first shot against the Blackhawks as Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones manned the Los Angeles goal in the previous two meetings.
While their 4-2-4 in their last 10 isn't as spectacular as most would think, the Hawks are still rolling along this season. At 33-10-4, they sit atop the Central Division. Plus, with an average of 3.62 goals per game, Los Angele's defense (and goaltending) need to play an outstanding game. The offense does too but one step at a time.
Netminder Nikolai Khabibulin is out for the season for the Blackhawks. But with Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta playing so well together, the Kings have enough to worry about on top of their lack of scoring. Outside Khabibulin's injury, the Hawks have a clean bill of health as do the Kings who hope to have defenseman Alec Martinez in the lineup.
A little momentum is all that's needed in Los Angeles heading into the Olympic break. But it will be far from easy. We'll see if the silver-and-black can step up to the plate and take away two points.
Enjoy the game!