Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings - 12/30/13
Los Angeles Kings (25-10-4) at Chicago Blackhawks (27-7-7)
NHL Hockey: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -135 / Los Angeles Kings +123 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks square off in a battle of heavyweights in what many are considering a possible Western Conference finals matchup.
The Kings will look to take bragging rights in what is a battle of the last two Stanley Cup winners and definitely two of the favourites to hoist the trophy this season. Los Angeles has been very solid through the first half of the year despite losing starting goaltender Jonathan Quick who has missed the majority of the year due to injury. Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens have filled the void with incredible success with the former likely getting the call in this one as he goes up against Antii Raanta who has assumed the starter’s gig with Corey Crawford on the shelf. These two teams match up very well against one another as I think they’re not only the two best teams in hockey but epitomize how you’re supposed to play the game based on their respective playing styles. The Kings are a very physical bunch that relies heavily on its size and grit and they’ll be looking to push the highly skilled Hawks around at the United Center.
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The Blackhawks have been coasting through the regular season so far as Joel Quenneville has his team lined up for a potential repeat as President’s Trophy winners and the luxury of claiming home ice throughout the playoffs. Chicago has the lineup necessary to repeat as Cup champions as the majority of their core is still intact and their big three of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp are playing at career levels. The Hawks have been without Corey Crawford in goal but are likely to get him back this week but in the mean time they will stick with Raanta who has been very solid in relief and will certainly see more frequent starts when Crawford does come back. This will be a great game to watch in what I believe is a preview of the Western Conference finals and while the Hawks are coming off a loss to the Blues and the Kings have dropped two straight I see this one being a coin flip and with the odds being on the visitors I’m willing to give them a shot.