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Preview: Game Day #76, Kings @ Blackhawks

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it's getting kinda tense

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ Chicago Blackhawks (United Center)

Time: 5:30 PM PST

TV: NBCSN, CSN Chicago, SportsNet Ontario

Enemy Reading: Second City Hockey

Lineups:

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik–Kopitar–Williams
King–Carter–Toffoli
Brown–Shore–Lewis
Clifford–Richards–Nolan

Muzzin–Doughty
Regehr–Sekera
Martinez–Greene

Quick
(Jones)

Scratched: McBain, McNabb, Andreoff; Injured: Pearson, Stoll; Suspended: Voynov

Chicago Blackhawks

Versteeg–Toews–Hossa
Sharp–Richards–Vermette
Bickell–Shaw–Saad
Desjardins–Kruger–Teravainen

Oduya–Hjalmarsson
Keith–Rundblad
Timonen–Seabrook

Darling
(Crawford)

Scratched: Baun, Rozsival, Paliotta; Injured: Kane, Nordstrom, Carcillo


Obligatory Standings Update (as of March 30, 2015)


Pacific Division Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Anaheim P 78 49 22 7 105
41
2 Vancouver P 75 43
27 5
91 39
3 Calgary P 76 41
28 7 89 37
4 Los Angeles P 75
37 24 14 88
35
5 San Jose P 76
37 30
9
83
33

Wild Card Standings
Rank Team DIV GP W L OT P ROW
1 Minnesota C 76 44 25 7 95 40
2 Winnipeg C 76
39 25 12 90
32
3 Los Angeles P 75
37 24 14 88
35
4 Dallas C 76 37 29 10 84 33
5 San Jose P 76 37 30
9
83 33
6 Colorado C 75 35 28 12 82
26

(top three seeds in Pacific Division, top two seeds in Wild Card qualify for playoffs)

Game Notes:

  • On the playoff picture: Dallas, Colorado, and San Jose have basically reached the point where they need to win out in order to make the playoffs. (The first two would end up at 96 points if they win all remaining games; San Jose would end up at 95.) And with Minnesota on a tear, it's looking more and more like four teams for three spots, with Vancouver in easily the best shape.
  • Chicago opened a huge door by beating Winnipeg on a Jonathan Toews goal with 30 seconds left. The other three teams in doubt all play on the road tonight; Calgary's in Dallas on a back-to-back, while Vancouver heads to St. Louis.
  • Enough about the other teams, though, it's Chicago Day! I fall into the same YouTube wormhole every time the Kings play these guys. I'll give you the option. If you need to be productive this afternoon, DO NOT CLICK the below link.

  • Hopefully you eventually found your way back here. The biggest difference tonight from previous matchups? No Patrick Kane; he's been out since February 24 with a broken collarbone.
  • Kane, of course, had the game-winner in Game 6 last year. The Kings don't have an absence on that gaping level, but they are still waiting for Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson, the first and last LA goalscorers in the preceding game. (We weren't far away from Pearson's goal being a series-winner, thinking about it.)
  • Last game's "player who needs to do something" (and I wish I'd actually documented this), Dwight King, scored his first goal in 20 games. More remarkably, it was also his first point in 16. I don't know how you go scoreless for that long when you get shifts with Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter, but I'm glad that's over!
  • Today's player who needs to do something: Mike Richards, who hasn't scored a point since January 14. Yup, pre-demotion. In a parallel universe, this goal against Chicago is the start of a legendary comeback and not a mere footnote.
  • Remember, if Chicago gets ahead today... be calm, like the man himself. There's always time to get back in it.
    sutter calm
  • Prediction: Kings win.