Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 32 @ Chicago, March 25, 2013, 5pm PST (8pm EST)
After closing out their homestand with back-to-back shutout losses, the Los Angeles Kings kick off a five-game road swing where things only get tougher as they face a Chicago Blackhawks team which is tied for the second-fewest goals against in the NHL.
Monday night will mark the third and final meeting between the Kings and Hawks this season with Chicago winning the first two meetings, first on the opening day of the season (January 19) in Los Angeles and then again on February 17 in the Windy City. Unlike the last time these two teams met, the Blackhawks are no longer undefeated in regulation. With that said, there’s still enough firepower in that lineup to invoke fear in anyone.
While their defense and goaltending have been better in recent weeks, the Kings are in for a tough test as they are up against a Chicago team which is currently second in the league with 3.27 goals per game. However, rust could play a factor as the Hawks have not played since Wednesday night when they lost to the Anaheim Ducks. Of course, that was away from the United Center but Monday night, the Hawks will play in their home building where they are 11-1-1 so far. Away from Staples Center meanwhile, the Kings are an unimpressive 5-8-1. Needless to say that a reversal of fortune is just what Los Angeles needs to kick off their road trip.
As any team needs to, the Kings will need to contain Chicago’s big three in Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa should they hope to salvage the season series. Toews and Hossa each have two goals against the Kings this season while Kane leads the way for his team with 16 goals. In addition, there will also be a need to contain Patrick Sharp who has had his share of success against the Kings as have defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
The United Center will be hopping on Monday night and it is up to Los Angeles Kings to quiet the Blackhawks faithful early and often. Of course, they will need to put added pressure on whichever netminder starts from the home team: Corey Crawford or Ray Emery.
Can the Kings avoid a three-game losing streak and get off on the right foot away from Staples? We’ll just have to see.
Enjoy the game!