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Game Day #24: Kings-Blackhawks

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks (Staples Center)

Time: 7.00 PM

TV: Fox Sports West, NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA2

Kings projected lineup:

Gaborik - Kopitar - Toffoli
Pearson - Carter - Lewis
Brown - Stoll - Williams
Clifford - Richards - King

Doughty - Muzzin
McNabb - Greene
Regehr - McBain

Quick

Injured: Martinez; Suspended: Voynov

Blackhawks projected lineup:

Saad - Toews - Hossa
Versteeg - Richards - Kane
Bickell - Shaw - Carcillo
Nordstrom - Kruger - Smith

Keith - Seabrook
Oduya - Hjalmarsson
Roszival - Rundblad

Crawford

Injured: Sharp (knee), van Riemsdyk (knee)

Game notes:

  • RIVALRY. AND STUFF.  I'm always pretty sanguine when the Kings have had the last laugh so I'm not too worked up right now but I'm sure if this game doesn't go well, I'll be back to hollering about how over-rated Jonathan Toews is and how Brent Seabrook is dumb.
  • Other than the addition of Brad Richards and the (extremely sad) loss of Michal Handzus, the Blackhawks have been similar to the Kings in keeping a fairly stable roster. Unlike the Kings, however, the Blackhawks have remained an elite team this season. I don't have the exact numbers, but I believe they're leading the league in underlying possession numbers - and it's obvious from watching them that they're still a step above.
  • Alec Martinez is still skating with the team, but unlikely to play tonight, so the defense remains stable. I have no idea what is happening with the forward lines. I appreciate that Darryl Sutter obviously appreciates, despite the relatively favourable win-loss record, that the Kings are underachieving. I do not appreciate, however, his continued sidelining of Justin Williams, and his refusal to acknowledge that Jarret Stoll is terrible.
  • Darryl Sutter has a tendency to over-rely on the non-existent theory of the hot hand, but despite Martin Jones' competence in the win against Minnesota the other night, it appears that Jonathan Quick will be back in net tonight. This is a Jonathan Quick appreciation game note because he has been very decent this season and not enough people have given him credit for it.
  • Prediction: Kings win 5-4 because I say so.