Blackhawks-Kings Preview

With the Chicago Blackhawks seemingly headed to a fourth

straight loss, Patrick Sharp came to the rescue, recording his

first hat trick in four years.

It may just have been a warm-up for facing the Los Angeles


Sharp, who has routinely given the Kings fits, looks to lead the

Blackhawks to a seventh straight victory over Los Angeles when they

visit Staples Center on Saturday night.

Chicago (13-7-3) arrived in Southern California for games

against Anaheim and Los Angeles having been outscored 15-4 during a

three-game losing streak. Things immediately looked bleak against

the Ducks on Friday, as the Blackhawks fell behind 2-0 just 2:13

into the game. They trailed 4-2 heading into the third period

before erupting for four goals in less than 10 minutes and hung on

for a 6-5 victory.

“It’s a big win for us because of how things have been going

lately,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Over the last couple of

games we’ve come up short, but we’ve worked hard. We were all over

the place getting chances, and we knew the breaks would come. I

feel like we are over the hump, but we’ve got to carry that into

(Saturday’s) game.”

Toews, who leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals, had two goals and

three assists and Sharp scored the tying and go-ahead goals in a

2:01 span in the third to complete his hat trick. Sharp’s only

other hat trick came in a 5-3 win over Detroit on Nov. 17,


This might come as a surprise to the Kings (11-7-4), who

probably feel like he has recorded a few against them.

Sharp has 17 goals in 20 career games against Los Angeles. The

only team he has scored more goals against is Columbus, tallying 20

but in 18 more games.

In his last game against the Kings on Jan. 3, Sharp had two

goals in Chicago’s 4-3 victory, giving him eight goals in eight

games at Staples Center since 2007-08.

The Blackhawks have won six straight over Los Angeles since a

2-1 shootout loss on Nov. 28, 2009, and are 9-0-1 in the last 10


While Chicago rallied late to win its last game, the Kings

coughed up a two-goal, third-period lead in Wednesday’s 3-2

overtime loss to Dallas.

Los Angeles was on the verge of winning for the fifth time in

six games but was outshot 13-6 in the third period and allowed the

tying goal with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.

“It’s frustrating,” said Anze Kopitar, tied for the team lead

with 10 goals. “You got a two-goal lead going into the third period

and you couldn’t close it out. They kept coming. You got to give

them credit, they made some plays, but on our part, we just can’t

sit back like that. We got to play our style and keep the foot on

the gas pedal and not back out.”

Mike Richards also has 10 goals, with a majority of his scoring

coming in the last 2 1/2 weeks. He has scored in each of the last

five games and has eight goals in the last eight contests.

Jonathan Quick stopped 35 shots Wednesday to lose his second

straight start following a three-game winning streak. He has been

in net for five losses during the skid to the Blackhawks, and is

2-8-1 with a 2.86 GAA lifetime against them.

Chicago’s Corey Crawford, who has a 4.08 GAA in his last four

games, has posted a 2.00 GAA in winning his three career starts

against the Kings.