Los Angeles ripped off a 6-0-1 start to the season to move atop the Pacific Division standings and remain there while riding a four-game winning streak ahead of Sunday’s game. The Kings most recent outing was a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
Two of LA’s veterans have led this revival, with Anze Kopitar averaging over a point per game (27 games, 13 goals, 16 assists) and Dustin Brown (10 goals, 11 assists) right behind Kopitar atop the team’s point leaders. In net, Jonathan Quick is back to his top form, with the 31-year-old goalie owning impressive numbers of 2.27 GAA and .929 SA%. Quick’s performance has been a key factor in LA allowing the fewest number of goals this season and boasting the league’s No. 1 penalty kill.
For the Hawks, the lineup will probably look a little different than it did on Saturday night, although no morning skate on Sunday means its guesswork. Perhaps Michal Kempny and/or Jordan Oesterle will find a way into the lineup after long stretches as healthy scratches. I’d guess that Anton Forsberg gets the net again, with Jean-Francois Berube as the backup, even though Forsberg played over 60 minutes against Dallas on Saturday night.
Expectations for tonight’s game have to be tempered. As mentioned at the top, this is a Blackhawks team playing its fifth game in seven nights. And it had a later start in Dallas on Saturday night, followed by an earlier start for this Sunday night game back in home in Chicago. It’s probably going to be an ugly performance. It’s probably going to be tough for the Hawks to get at least one point, let alone two. But at some point, this team has needs to start picking up points. Still, this game cannot be viewed in a vacuum: the degree of difficulty for Sunday night’s game is awfully high, given the quality opponent and busy schedule Chicago has faced.
|F1||Brandan Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik|
|F2||Nick Schmaltz - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Patrick Sharp - Ryan Hartman - Alex DeBrincat|
|F4||Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Cody Franson|
|D2||Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook|
|D3||Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta|
|F1||Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown|
|F2||Tanner Pearson - Nick Shore - Tyler Toffoli|
|F3||Marian Gaborik - Adrian Kempe - Trevor Lewis|
|F4||Jussi Jokinen - Torrey Mitchell - Jonny Brodzinski|
|D1||Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty|
|D2||Kurtis MacDermid - Alec Martinez|
|D3||Derek Forbort - Christian Folin|
How to watch Blackhawks vs. Kings
Start time: 6 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago