Hockey Day In America got a great kickstart with the Sabres and Penguins doing battle in Buffalo, but our attend shifts west to Chicago where the Blackhawks are hosting the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. The two teams have met before this season and Chicago managed to rain on Los Angeles’ banners raising parade but a few games have passed since then and the tide and momentum has definitely shifted in the Blackhawks favor.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings
2:30pm ET on NBC | United Center — Chicago, IL
Both of these teams met on opening night back in January with the Blackhawks taking care of business with an easy against the Kings. But it’s more than just revenge on the minds of the Kings as they currently sit in 12th place in the Western Conference playoff hunt with just 12 points, meaning they’re four spots outside of getting a chance to defend their title.
It’s been a completely different story for the Blackhawks who saw their Stanley Cup dreams end in the first round of last year’s playoffs but are currently leading the NHL with 25 points and a 11-0-3 record.
Chicago has been virtually unstoppable this year with Patrick Kane playing some of the best hockey of his career, sitting two points behind Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek as the NHL’s leading scorer. The big story for Chicago though revolves around netminder Corey Crawford and his mysterious injury that will keep him out of another game today. Roy Emery will be in goal for Chicago this afternoon but Crawford’s injury is being called an “upper body” injury at the moment which is ambiguous at best.
If Crawford indeed has a concussion, which is the fear, he could be out a while which means the weight of the Blackhawks defense rests on Emery’s shoulders. He’s proven he can carry the load, but in just 4 games Emery has four goals against him while Crawford has 17 against him in 10 games. But where the Blackhawks give up goals they make them up with an explosive offense that has supported the best team in hockey at the moment.
Los Angeles is far from being done, but if they want to boost their confidence and start to make up some ground, a win against the Blackhawks is going to go a long way in doing that.