LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings can shape the perception of their road trip tonight. A strong win gives them a 2-1 road trip, with the one loss coming on the second night of a back-to-back. While a loss would put them back below .500 for the season and raise questions about the team's consistency. They face a rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks team who's without number one defenseman Seth Jones and a goalie with just five NHL games under his belt in Arvid Soderblom.
The LA Kings lost to the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Tuesday.
The Kings will likely abandon the 11 forwards and seven defensemen format they deployed against the Stars. Leaving rookie Brandt Clarke's spot in the lineup questionable. Head coach Todd McLellan kept his cards close to his chest when asked about Clarke playing tonight. He simply said, "I don't know."
The Kings are still without Alex Iafallo, who's still out on injured reserve, and Quinton Byfield who's still experiencing flu-like symptoms. Rasmus Kupari replaced Byfield in the last three games and will keep that spot tonight.
The Blackhawks have lost four straight. Three of those four have included at least seven goals, a high-scoring trend that could continue tonight.
The Kings sit ninth in the league in goals per game, while the Blackhawks sit 13th. The Kings are 28th in goals against per game, the Blackhawks are 20th.
This one could be a shootout.
Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice this morning for the Kings, indicating a start for the 36-year-old veteran. Quick is 3-4-0 on the season, with a .888 save percentage and a 3.44 goals-against average. Soderblom is expected in net for the Blackhawks, he's 1-1-0 on the season, with a .903 save percentage and a 3.47 goals-against-average.
Expected LA Kings Lines
|Sean Walker/Brandt Clarke
Chicago Blackhawks (4-4-2) Lines, Per CapFriendly
LA Kings Power Play: 11-53, 20.8%, 20th in NHL
LA Kings Penalty Kill: 13-53, 75.47%, 23rd in NHL
Blackhawks Power Play: 9-33, 27.7%, 7th in NHL
Blackhawks Penalty Kill: 11-43, 47.42%, 25th in NHL
This is the first game against the Kings for Andreas Athanasiou after he left the team last summer.
The Kings went 2-0-1 against the Blackhawks last season.
Gabriel Vilardi leads the team in goals and points (8-5-13), Kevin Fiala leads in assists with 10.
Fiala is riding a five-game point streak, with two goals and six assists in the five games. Fiala has 13 points in his last 9 games against the Blackhawks (8-5-13) and with four more points he will become the fourth Swiss player to record 300 career points.
Anze Kopitar and Phil Danault sit second and third in the league for faceoff percentage, Kopitar (65.3%), Danault (57.9%).
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West & Bally Sports +, ESPN+; Radio: Kings Audio Network on iHeart Radio