Tonight, the Los Angeles Kings (27-22-12) look to right the ship, at home, when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks (33-22-7) in Downtown Los Angeles. This is their third meeting of the season. Both clubs share a 1-1 record with both team wins coming on the road. The Kings are desperate for two points having gone 1-4-2 in their last seven and dropping to 10th in the Western Conference Playoff race.
The Chicago Blackhawks were having troubles of their own earlier this month but recently have a record of 10-1-1 in their last twelve. However, this is their first road game since they blundered performing 2-6-1. Their two wins came in the final two games of their trip. They are without Jonathan Toews who suffered an upper-body injury from a one-car accident two days ago. He has not played in the two games.
You can sense the excitement at Staples Center as newly acquired forward, Jeff Carter, will make his Los Angeles debut. I can think with 99.9% surety that he will be on the same line as Mike Richards and Dwight “Designated Driver” King. I am dubbing it the “best friends line” or “wing man line.” King is DD. Really though, I do not care about the “partying” stories of either player, but I digress. With the added star power I hope that Anze Kopitar will get on track again, now that pressure to score is somewhat relieved. He has no points this season against Chicago. Carter, on the other hand, has played a total of 7 games against Chicago with a plus five rating and 4 points (2G, 2A)) in his career. I think in “Carts” inaugural game he will score at least 2 points (1G, 1A) to rally the home crowd and reignite their passion in what has turned out to be a loveless month of February so far.
Back to the numbers:
The Chicago Blackhawks rank 26th, in the NHL, with a man short. It is wise to note that out of the 15 goals that Jeff Carter has scored this season, 8 have come on the Power Play. Let’s hope the Kings can refuse to take penalties and capitalize on their chances. The past couple of games they have surrendered too much at a great cost.
The lines for tonight for the LA Kings are:
There is no excuse not to play the full 60 minutes with intensity and heart. I know I sound like a broken record, but this team is struggling to find leadership and with the trade deadline only two-ish days away, these guys are playing for the deeds to their homes because the biggest mistake is having to leave beautiful Southern California and not being a part of the winning culture we are rapidly developing.
I call a 4-1 LA Kings win over the Chicago Blackhawks.