BLACKHAWKS (33-10-14) at KINGS (30-21-6)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
FIRST AND FINAL: Tonight marks the third and final regular season meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks, and the first one at STAPLES Center. The Kings dropped their previous two meetings with Chicago this season, falling 3-1 on December 15, and 1-0 on December 30. Both of those contests were at Chicago’s United Center. Can the Kings snag a win tonight in their only date with the Blackhawks at STAPLES Center this season?
DRY ISLAND: The Kings are amidst a scoring slump that has seen them score a combined three goals in their last six games, on 184 shots taken, in 363:10 minutes of play. Anze Kopitar has all three of the Kings’ goals during this dry period.
Against Chicago this season, the Kings have scored just one goal in two games, on a combined 48 shots. Chicago’s Antti Raanta has stopped 47 of the Kings’ 48 shots fired his way.
Can the Kings rediscover their offense tonight?
BLACKHAWKS DOWN: Chicago is riding through the roughest stage of their extremely successful season right now, winning just one game in their previous six. In that span, the Blackhawks have posted a 1-2-3 record, getting held to one goal in three of those games. They’re amidst a six-game West Coast road swing, where they’ve gone 1-1-1 thus far. Can the Kings pounce tonight?
THE LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE: The Blackhawks last skated at STAPLES Center on June 6, 2012 in what was Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. This would also mark the Kings’ final home game of the season, as they were eliminated from the postseason two days later in Game 5 at United Center in Chicago.
Slava Voynov gave the Kings an early lead just 3:28 minutes into the contest, scoring his sixth goal of the postseason. Chicago would run away with the win after Marian Hossa posted the game-winning goal early in the third period.
Voynov, who turned heads the past two seasons with his lethal shot from the point, is without a goal in his last 38 games. Can Slava break his scoring slump, tallying one against the Blackhawks again tonight at STAPLES Center?
REGULATION STATION: In 2014, the Blackhawks have recorded just four regulation victories in 15 games; the Kings have five in 16 games. For the Blackhawks, their poison has come after the 60-minute mark, where they’ve dropped seven of their eight games played past regulation into OT/SO. For the Kings, their lack of scoring has been the problem. If the Kings can’t pick up a win in 60 minutes tonight, can they solidify two points in either OT or a shootout?
HAVING DOUGHTS?: Drew Doughty provided an optimistic outlook Saturday afternoon after the Kings dropped their third-straight game, getting shutout for the third time in their last five games:
“You’ve got to get past it. This can make us stronger. Going through this little slip, it seems like it happens with the Kings every year at some point. We’re going to turn this thing around and we’re going to go the other way with it and become better from it.”
TAILGATING: The Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes are becoming a threat to the Kings in the Pacific Division standings for it’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot. The Canucks (63 PTS) are just three points behind the Kings, the Coyotes (62 PTS), just four. Vancouver has one game in-hand on the Kings; Phoenix has two. Can the Kings fend off their close-riding competition tonight with two points?
TWO WOULD BE NICE TOO: The last time the Kings were able to score more than one goal in a game, it came seven games ago on January 21 in Ohio against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in a 5-3 loss. The Kings will see the Blue Jackets Wednesday night at STAPLES Center for their final game before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics break.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 7:00 PT, followed with Bob and Jim on scene at STAPLES Center for the live play-by-play call for puck-drop at 7:30.
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