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.
|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|
|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