Chicago Blackhawks (30-15-2) at Los Angeles Kings (20-15-12)
|Date & Time||Wednesday January 28, 2015, 10:30 PM (EST)|
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
The Kings and Blackhawks do battle at the Staples Center in a battle of the last three Stanley Cup champions.
The Blackhawks head into Los Angeles looking to chase down the Nashville Predators in the Central division and win their 15th road game of the season in the process as they take on the Kings who are stumbling in the Pacific and could very well miss out on the postseason. Chicago has been right in the mix all season long and has been as consistent as they come but trail the Preds by five points in the division and have played one more game than Nashville and if things continue at this rate we will see a grudge match between the Hawks and Blues in the first round which would be an absolute thriller. There is still plenty of hockey left to be played though and Chicago could very well climb up or fall down in the Western Conference standings but a road win against the defending champs would be a nice confidence booster but they know it'll be a tough out as the Kings are 15-6-6 on home ice this season. Corey Crawford is expected to get the start as he will go up against Jonathan Quick who gets the nod for LA.
The Kings haven't had the season many expected them to have and while they're very much in the mix to get into the playoffs and all bets are off once they do they could just as easily miss out entirely as San Jose, Vancouver, and Calgary are all ahead of them in the standings. The Kings are the first team out right now sitting a point back of the Flames but to add further confusion to the mix the Avs, Stars, and Wild are also in the running for a wild card spot making the Western Conference race one to watch out for as it could come right down to the wire. Things took a tough turn for the team over the weekend as they placed Mike Richards on waivers and while he cleared them and is likely to spend a stint in the AHL to find his game it is a far cry from where he was over the last couple of seasons for this team as he was an integral part of their Cup run three years ago and still important last year. The absence of Slava Voynov has been felt greatly by this team and until they fill that void I think the Kings could be down on their luck especially against good teams and that is why I am siding with the road team here as Chicago gets the win.