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Blackhawks host Kings coming off rare February win

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It’s the first game coming off of a victory for the Blackhawks this month

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Chicago Blackhawks are coming off of a win when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night at the United Center.

And if they win tonight, that’s called a winning streak.

It’s been an up-and-down 2018 for the Kings, who do remain in contention for a playoff spot but are, quickly fading out of reach. Los Angeles lost six straight games in January, then won six of eight, then lost three in a row but then turned things around with a win over the hapless Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. Anze Kopitar’s resurgence has led the way, with the 30-year-old center giving all of us hope of a Jonathan Toews awakening. Kopitar leads his team in goals (25), assists (38) and points (63), although shooting at an 18 percent clip this season, well above his career average of 12.5, suggests he’s getting some luck that Toews and his 9.2% (14.1% for his career) are not. Elsewhere in LA, injuries have continued to pile up. Jeff Carter has played just six games this season, and the team has also been without center Trevor Lewis of late, cutting into the Kings’ typically-strong forward depth and perhaps explaining why they’ve recently slid out of a wild card spot. Jonathan Quick remains in net, posting decent numbers of .920 SA% and 2.51 GAA. Los Angeles could really use two points tonight to keep pace in the West.

For the Hawks, whatever selling the team can do at the upcoming trade deadline started on Monday with Michal Kempny being shipped to the Washington Capitals for a conditional third-round pick. Could more moves be on the way? Possibly. But that shouldn’t affect what happens on the ice for the Blackhawks in the remainder of the season. The playoffs may be lost, but this team’s future is not -- at least not yet. Young players like Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz need to continue their upward trajectories. Struggling veterans like Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad could benefit from quality play that could generate some confidence heading into next season. And slumping players like Ryan Hartman could use some more success in the final months of the season to ensure that the 2018-19 Blackhawks get off to a much better start than this edition of the team has. Can’t fix the past, but they can help steer the future in a positive direction.

Lineups

Blackhawks

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Tommy Wingels
F2 Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
F3 Alex DeBrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Anthony Duclair
F4 Vinnie Hinostroza - David Kampf - Ryan Hartman
D1 Duncan Keith - Jordan Oesterle
D2 Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook
D3 Carl Dahlstrom - Erik Gustafsson
Goaltender Anton Forsberg

Senators

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Mike Hoffman - Matt Duchene - Marian Gaborik
F2 Zack Smith - Derick Brassard - Mark Stone
F3 Maguns Paajarvi - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Tom Pyatt
F4 Max McCormick - Nick Shore - Ryan Dzingel
D1 Johnny Oduya - Erik Karlsson
D2 Mark Borowiecki - Cody Ceci
D3 Fredrik Claesson - Thomas Chabot
Goaltender Craig Anderson OR Mike Condon

*Lines are subject to change.

How to watch Kings at Blackhawks

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT

Location: United Center, Chicago

TV: WGN