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Game Day #68, Preview: Los Angeles Kings @ Chicago Blackhawks

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Still top of the class?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ Chicago Blackhawks

Time: 5:00 Pacific

TV: NBCSN

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

Enemy Reading: Second City Hockey

Los Angeles Kings

Lucic - Kopitar - Versteeg
King - Carter - Toffoli
Pearson - Lecavalier - Brown
Clifford - Shore - Lewis

Scuderi - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
McNabb - Schenn

Quick
(Enroth)

Injured: Gaborik, Greene, Nolan Scratched: McBain, Andreoff

Chicago Blackhawks

Ladd - Toews - Hossa
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Desjardins - Teravainen - Fleischmann
Mashinter - Shaw - Weise

Keith - Hjalmarsson
Gustafsson - Seabrook
van Riemsdyk - Rozsival

Crawford
Darling

Injured: Kruger Scratched: Rasmussen, Panik, Ehrhoff

Stats & Such
(Fancy stats courtesy War on Ice)

Team Kings Blackhawks
Record 40-22-5 41-22-6
Points 85 88
Division Rank 1st 3rd
Streak Lost 1 Lost 2
Goals For/Game 2.69 2.83
Goals Against/Game 2.3
2.43
ES Goal % 52.5
50.0
ES Shot %
54.6 50.6
ES PDO 99.5
99.8
ES Corsi % 56.1 50.7
ES Fenwick % 55.9 50.2
ES Scoring Chance % 54.3 50.0
ES High-Danger SC % 53.7 47.9
Power Play % (Rank) 21.8 (6th)
23.6 (2nd)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 80.9 (16th)
78.3 (26th)
Starting Goalie (today) Quick Crawford
Goalie Record 34-17-4 35-17-4
Save % .919 .927
ES Save % .931 .938

Notes:

  • This matchup has always been fun. I imagine fans on both sides looking at the depth on both sides and shaking their heads. "Wait, seriously, Shaw's their FOURTH-best center?" "That third line has Pearson AND Brown?" "How are Muzzin and Seabrook second-pair guys again?" Darryl Sutter talked before the 2014 WCF about how the teams matched up almost player-for-player all the way down, and that largely still holds true.
  • That might explain the similarity in the two teams' current position. The two teams have the same number of regulation losses, as Chicago's two additional games have resulted in an extra win and an extra OT loss. Pretty even, and also a demonstration of how tough each team has been past regulation. The Hawks are 9-5 in OT and 1-1 in the shootout, with the Kings at 10-3 in OT and 2-2 in the shootout.
  • Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford also have eerily similar records.
  • One day a preview will go by without me mentioning Rob Scuderi, but it's unavoidable today. Christian Ehrhoff is scratched and Scuderi is not, which means either (a) we won the trade!!! or (b) Scuderi's stock with his new team has gone up a LOT more than Ehrhoff's has. #7 played eighteen minutes against New Jersey on Saturday, while Ehrhoff played 13:52 in a 5-2 loss to Dallas on Friday. His minutes played in his four games in Chicago: 17, 21, 12, 14.
  • Speaking of former Hawks: First Line Kris Versteeg is a thing! He got a point taken away from him against Washington, let's see if he can get in the box score today.
  • I was trying to figure out where Chicago's big goal differential comes from when they play their opponents to a draw at 5-on-5. The special teams helps -- they are +13 when you account for power play and penalty kill situations -- but they've also got 15 empty-netters this season. That would help. (LA has eight, which is probably at least five more than you thought they had.) They also have scored six goals with their own goalie pulled, against just seven allowed (-1). That differential is fifth-best in the NHL behind Toronto (+4), Detroit/Dallas (even), and... LA (+1). Go Kings Go.
  • Cumulative even-strength scoring chance differential over the course of the season...
    Los Angeles: +245 (1548 for, 1303 against)
    Chicago: +1 (1424 for, 1423 against)
  • PREDICTION: Kings 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT). Nick Shore with the winner off Duncan Keith's face.