A dramatic hat trick from Patrick Kane vaulted the Chicago
Blackhawks back to the Stanley Cup finals at the expense of the Los
Angeles Kings last spring.
The star right wing looks more than capable of another big
performance Sunday night at the United Center as the Blackhawks and
red-hot Kings meet for the first time since the Western Conference
Chicago (23-7-5) ousted Los Angeles from the playoffs in five
games in June on its way to a second Stanley Cup in four years.
Kane, who earned the Conn Smythe Award, capped his Game 5 hat
trick with a goal in the second overtime for a 4-3 victory.
The Blackhawks won all three home games in that series,
improving to 10-2-1 over the last 13 home meetings with Los
Kane will likely play a part in continuing that success.
He has 10 goals and 21 assists with at least one point in 20 of
the past 21 games, including 15 points during a nine-game run at
Kane has tallied 16 points during an eight-game streak overall,
but his two goals weren’t enough in a 7-3 loss at Toronto on
Saturday that ended Chicago’s three-game win streak.
“Not the start we wanted, getting the penalties and getting down
a goal, then probably thinking too much offense as the game went
on,” Kane said. “The start wasn’t good, especially the first 10
minutes. Three penalties kind of takes you right out of the
“We tried to fight back and get ourselves into it but it was too
little too late.”
A return home should help the Blackhawks, who are 6-1-1 in their
last eight games there while averaging 4.6 goals and scoring 13 in
winning the past two contests.
Patrick Sharp has been a catalyst over that stretch, totaling
seven goals and seven assists. He seems likely to continue that
production at the United Center since he has 11 goals and 21 points
in 15 career meetings with the Kings, including last spring’s
Captain Jonathan Toews has 16 points in 14 home games against
Los Angeles (22-7-4), assisting on two of Kane’s goals in Game 5
including the series clincher.
The Kings, though, enter this meeting as one of the league’s
hottest teams. They have outscored opponents 23-7 during a six-game
win streak overall and are 7-0-1 in their last eight on the
They haven’t won seven in a row since a nine-game run Jan.
21-Feb. 6, 2010.
Los Angeles extended its current string by scoring three
consecutive goals in the opening period en route to a 5-2 win at
Ottawa on Saturday.
“We just keep winning,” said Jarret Stoll, who scored in the
third period. “There’s just a bunch of things going right now. We
just have to make sure we keep on top of it.”
Anze Kopitar scored twice against the Senators, giving him four
goals and one assist over the past four games.
He didn’t fare too well against Chicago in the playoffs, getting
two points in the series finale after being held without a point
through the first four games.
Rookie Martin Jones made 37 saves Saturday to win his fifth
start in as many games, posting a remarkable .967 save percentage.
He could give way to Ben Scrivens with games on back-to-back days
despite that success. Scrivens has allowed two goals or fewer in 11