NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, February 17th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (5-5-2) at Chicago Blackhawks (11-0-3), 3:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks hot start isn't just impressive
anymore. It's getting historically good.
The Blackhawks try to extend their season-opening point streak to 15 straight
games on Sunday afternoon when they play host to the defending Stanley Cup
champion Los Angeles Kings.
Chicago brings an 11-0-3 record into this meeting, having rebounded from a
shootout loss to Anaheim on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over the San Jose
Sharks Friday. The Blackhawks have won five of their last six and have matched
the 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens for the third-longest season-opening point
streak in NHL history.
Next up is the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers' 15-game run to open the season, while
the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks hold the all-time record by recording a point in 16
straight to begin a campaign.
"We're going one game at a time here, but we like our start. We like the way
we're playing, the consistency, the balance. We've got a tough opponent next
and lets get excited about it," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of
Sunday's meeting with the Kings following the win over the Ducks.
Marcus Kruger and Niklas Hjalmarsson each had a goal and an assist, while Dave
Bolland and Andrew Shaw added goals as well. Patrick Kane finished with an
assist, giving him seven goals and five helpers over an eight-game point
With No. 1 netminder Corey Crawford unavailable due to a lower body injury,
Ray Emery made 27 saves to improve to 4-0-0 in four games this season.
"We had a great start. We came out with a lot of energy and we were buzzing
around their net a bunch," said Emery. "We got on the board early in the game,
so that helps, and we played with the lead throughout the game."
Chicago will play the third of a seven-game homestand on Sunday and is 3-0-1
as the host this season.
Perhaps watching the Kings raise their Stanley Cup banner in the season opener
on Jan. 19 provided the spark that has led to the Blackhawks' fast start.
Chicago went on to best Los Angeles 5-2 in that meeting, getting two goals and
an assist from Marian Hossa, as well as goals by Kane and Jonathan Toews.
The Blackhawks snapped a three-game slide to the Kings in the process and have
won 11 of the past 15 encounters overall.
That defeat was part of an 0-2-1 start for the Kings, who are looking to turn
things around and have won two straight for only the second time this season.
Their most recent winning streak came about thanks to a 2-1 win over the
Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
Kyle Clifford and Mike Richards had the goals, with Richards notching his
400th career point.
The Blue Jackets pulled within one on a goal with 2:25 to play, but Los
Angeles held on to improve to 90-1-10 in its last 101 games when leading after
"When we get the lead, we're a strong team, so that's got to be our focus all
year," said Clifford.
After backstopping the Kings to a win over the Blues on Monday, Jonathan
Bernier made back-to-back starts for the first time since Jan. 15-17, 2011 and
made 12 saves.
"I felt good from the get-go. It's hard to stay focused when they're not
shooting much on goal," said Bernier, who also picked up his second career
assist. "We didn't give up much tonight. We found a way to win."
It is unknown if Bernier or reigning Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick will
start this game. Quick has gone 3-4-2 with a 2.70 goals against average and
.891 save percentage in 10 games this season.
Quick allowed five goals on 22 shots faced in the loss to the Blackhawks back
02/17 10:25:53 ET