Kings near historic skid as Blackhawks visit
The Los Angeles Kings will try to avoid tying a franchise-record losing streak when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.
Los Angeles (23-33-8) is winless in its past 10 games, including six losses in regulation, two losses in overtime and two losses in the shootout round. The club record is 11 consecutive losses, which it set in 2004.
The Kings are trying to stay focused on improving in the final quarter of what has proved to be a lost season.
"The playoffs, it's not going to happen," Kings veteran forward Dustin Brown said recently to the Los Angeles Times.
"It's the reality of the situation we're in. You probably don't discuss it now, but guys are definitely thinking. It's human nature, especially for guys who have been here for a while, and knowing the other side of it. It's different when you never know. I have a different perspective because I've been here when it was worse than it is right now.
"This is the worst team that a lot of those guys have been on. It's a different perspective for me. I know it's not good and we can get better. I also know it can actually get worse, believe it or not."
The picture is slightly better for Chicago (27-28-9), although a recent skid has diminished the Blackhawks' postseason hopes. The team is coming off a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night after suffering back-to-back losses to the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.
One bright spot during the past week has been the return of Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. He returned from his latest concussion to stop 29 of 32 shots in the victory over Anaheim, and he could be called upon again to face Los Angeles.
The 34-year-old is 7-14-2 with a 3.27 goals-against average and .902 save percentage on the season. He hadn't played since Dec. 16.
"I made some big saves and also I made some big mistakes," Crawford said in the Chicago Sun-Times. "I think after missing a lot of time, it's those little things that will come back the more I play. I definitely have to sharpen some things up, but it was good to get a win."
If the Blackhawks decide to give Crawford extra rest, they could turn to another veteran in Cam Ward. He filled in well during Crawford's prolonged absence and is 14-10-4 with a 3.71 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane leads the team with 94 points (40 goals, 54 assists). Next on the scoring list is Jonathan Toews, who has 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists).
For the Kings, Anze Kopitar leads the way with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists). Brown is second with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 54 games.
This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season. Los Angeles won 2-1 in a shootout Nov. 16 in Chicago.
The Kings are 12-15-3 at home this season. Chicago is 13-15-3 on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 1, 2019