NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, December 28th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (17-14-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (23-9-4), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Kings got goals from some unlikely sources to end their
scoring problems for at least one game last time out. They'll need another 19-
man effort tonight given their recent struggles versus the NHL-leading
Los Angeles looks to build off its most recent effort and end a seven-game
slide to Chicago on Wednesday at the United Center.
The Kings went a club-high 14 straight games without scoring at least three
goals in regulation, a stretch that saw a coaching change from Terry Murray to
Darryl Sutter, before getting past the Coyotes 4-3 on Monday. It was the most
goals Los Angeles had scored since a 3-2 win at St. Louis on Nov. 22.
While Dustin Brown scored and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves to serve as the
usual suspects, it was the less-heralded players who stepped up to end the
scoring drought. Rob Scuderi scored his first goal since Feb. 5, while Brad
Richardson and Willie Mitchell each netted their second goals of the season.
"That's what it's going to take," Brown said of getting goals from defenseman
like Scuderi and Mitchell. "We are going to have to have scoring from the back
end. Tonight we had a lot of shots. We had some grade-A scoring chances that
didn't go in the net. ... I think if we can continue that mentality, you are
going to see us score more goals."
Defenseman Drew Doughty ran his assist streak to a career high-tying four
straight games for the Kings, who are 3-0-1 in their last four games, with
Sutter on the bench for three of those tests. They also improved to 9-0-0 when
scoring three-plus goals in a game.
"It was nice to get the win," Sutter said. "We had a good first period, we
weren't very good in the second, but we got it back in the third."
The Kings will play two in a row on the road before returning home for six
straight and could be without forward Simon Gagne after he suffered a head
injury versus the Coyotes.
Los Angeles needs all hands on deck given that Chicago is 10-0-1 in its past
11 versus the Kings. The Blackhawks have also taken six in a row and are 7-0-1
in the past eight at home versus LA since a 2-1 setback on March 23, 2007.
These two clubs met during the Kings' scoring drought, with the Blackhawks
leaving Los Angeles with a 2-1 win on Nov. 26 thanks to 26 saves by Corey
Crawford and goals from Jonathan Toews and Andrew Brunette.
One month later, the Blackhawks improved to 9-1-1 in December with a 4-1
victory over the Blue Jackets on Monday. Chicago broke the game open with a
three-goal second period, with Viktor Stalberg scoring twice in the frame to
give him goals in three straight contests.
"We kept to our plan there in the second period and it paid off," said
Stalberg, who has four goals and three assists over a four-game point streak.
"I think I'm playing okay and the puck seems to be finding me a little more.
It was a good game."
Crawford ended with 37 saves as the Blackhawks stretched their home winning
streak to five by taking the first two of a five-game homestand and lead the
NHL with 50 points.
Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa scored to extend their respective run of
points. Hossa has five goals and nine assists over an eight-game point streak,
while Sharp has found the scoresheet in 11 of his last 12 games with nine
tallies and six assists over that time.
12/28 10:52:37 ET