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Preview: Struggling Kings visit struggling Blackhawks

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

Game Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

TV: Fox Sports West

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Second City Hockey

What to Watch

  • The Chicago Blackhawks are bad. They’re not even fun-bad, where the Kings have been trending lately. They’re just bad-bad. Their defense is non-existent. Their forwards who you count on to out-score opponents aren’t actually putting the puck in the net. A team who fans counted on to at least be entertaining is anything but, and the coach doesn’t have answers other than going Extreme Line Blender and calling out his players for poor work ethic. It’s interesting watching the Kings and Blackhawks, both dominant teams for a span of years, now struggle with the same issues. In the Kings’ case, Todd McLellan’s message seems to be sinking in with the team, who struggle at times to apply their systems consistently, but still revert back to their old ways when pressured. With the Blackhawks, Jeremy Colliton’s message seems to be going nowhere, to the point where Hawks fans are wondering if it’s only a matter of time until this coach gets canned, too.
  • You’d expect some lineup changes on the end of the back to back. The only extra players are Joakim Ryan and Nikolai Prokhorkin, and while McLellan has said that everyone on the road trip should play at some point, there haven’t been any movements yet. No idea honestly even who would come out for Prokhorkin. Austin Wagner? While fans may clamor for Adrian Kempe to watch from the box for a game or two, would McLellan do it?
  • Speaking of healthy scratches: Brent Seabrook sits for the Blackhawks. It’s not a move that’s going to move the needle much for Chicago but it’s still a significant move for Chicago to scratch that veteran of a player.
  • Chicago has scored five total goals in their four game losing streak and were shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes last night. Getting good looks with the puck has been a challenge for them. The Kings, if nothing else, have excelled at keeping the puck away from opponents, so if they’re on top of their game, or if the Blackhawks stumble, there’s every chance this game could get very lopsided, at least on the shots count. Then again, how many times have the Kings lost despite outshooting opponents?
  • Your faithful midwest correspondent (me!) will be in attendance tonight. Look for a big ol’ nerd in a bright blue Kopitar Slovenian national team jersey.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown
Carter-Lizotte-Toffoli
Kovalchuk-Kempe-Lewis
Clifford-Amadio-Wagner

Hutton-Doughty
Martinez-Walker
MacDermid-Roy

Campbell

Chicago Blackhawks