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Game 30 Preview And Open Thread: Blackhawks vs. Kings

Puck Drop: Dec. 12, 7:30 PM CST


Chicago Blackhawks
Record: 14-13-2
Points: 30
Place: t-4th in Central, t-10th in Western Conference
Power Play Percentage/Rank: 19.4%, 12th in NHL
Penalty Kill Percentage/Rank: 84.4%, 8th in NHL
Blackhawks Team Statistics

vs.


Los Angeles Kings
Record: 12-16-2
Points: 26
Place: t-5th in Pacific, t-14th in Western Conference
Power Play Percentage/Rank: 21%, 8th in NHL
Penalty Kill Percentage/Rank: 78.8%, 25th in NHL
Kings Team Statistics

Hawks Lineup:

Offense
1st line: LW Byfuglien - C Lang - RW Havlat
2nd line: LW Sharp - C Toews - RW Kane
3rd line: LW Ruutu - C Bolland - RW Burish
4th line: LW Samsonov - C Perreault - RW Lapointe

Defense

1st pairing: Keith/Seabrook
2nd pairing: Zyuzin/Sopel
3rd pairing: Johansson/Wisniewski

Goalie

Khabibulin

Scratches: Vandermeer (healthy), Koci (healthy)
Injured Reserve: Bourque, Adams, Williams, Dowell

The Blackhawks will be looking to snap a four game losing streak tonight when they face the Kings for the first time this season. After an 8-3-2 month of November, they have gone 0-4-0 so far in December. Also, the Hawks had entered December with five straight wins at home, but they are currently on a three game losing streak at the United Center.

The Kings come in as the bottom team of the Western Conference, but are at least 4-3-1 in their last 8 games, so they are showing a little improvement. The main player for them to watch is Anze Kopitar, who has 30 points in 31 games and is an electrifying player at just 20 years old.

One thing that makes me confident for tonight, from the AP preview:

Khabibulin hopes to get back on track as he faces a Kings team he has dominated over the last decade.

Since Feb. 18, 1997, Khabibulin is 15-5-0 with a 1.81 GAA and six shutouts against Los Angeles. He has twice as many shutouts against the Kings than any other opponent in that span. Khabibulin was in net for all four of Chicago's games against Los Angeles last season, going 3-1-0 with a 1.72 GAA and one shutout.

Looking at this on paper, it is a game the Blackhawks definitely should win. It's time for them to put up a strong 60 minute effort and beat a team they should be able to handle.