The Chicago Blackhawks will shoot for their fifth win in weary Los Angeles Kings in tonight's battle at United Center.
The Blackhawks posted a 4-3 win Friday against the visiting New York Rangers, rebounding from Tuesday's 5-1 setback in St. Louis that halted a three-game win streak. Chicago is fighting for playoff positioning in the West and is currently seeded sixth in the conference with 81 points, three more than seventh-seeded Phoenix.
Meanwhile, the Kings, who are just one point behind San Jose for the West's eighth and final postseason berth, have lost two in a row and would like to close out a four-game road trip on a positive note. Los Angeles is just 14-12-8 as the guest this season and has played seven of its last nine games away from Staples Center.
Following tonight's tilt, the Kings will play five of their next six tests in the City of Angels.
The Kings have fared well against Chicago this season, winning two of three meetings and posting shutout victories in the last two encounters. Jonathan Quick stopped all 38 shots in a 2-0 win at Chicago and Dec. 28 and then made 19 saves in a 4-0 home win over the Blackhawks on Feb. 25.
Chicago has still won 10 of 13 overall in this series and the Kings have lost in seven of their last nine trips to the Windy City.
The Blackhawks and Rangers were tied at 1-1 heading into the third period on Friday, but Chicago got the better of the Eastern Conference leaders in the final 20 minutes. Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya scored 62 seconds apart in the third period for the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane's empty-net tally proved to be the winner in the 4-3 decision.
Andrew Shaw also scored for the Blackhawks and Ray Emery made 22 saves for the win.
"I thought we skated really well out there tonight," said Kane. "We didn't give them too many chances and when we did, we were able to get back and cover our spots."
Friday's contest kicked off a three-game homestand for the Blackhawks, who are 23-7-4 on home ice compared to a 14-18-3 mark on the road.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will miss his 10th straight game tonight with a concussion, but he could be back sometime this week. He hasn't played since suffering the injury on Feb. 19 against St. Louis.
The Kings lost a 4-3 regulation decision Friday night in Detroit, despite taking a 3-2 advantage on Dwight King's goal with 5:54 left in the third period. Valtteri Filppula tied the game for the Red Wings 1:52 after King's goal and Darren Helm scored the game-winner with 1:13 to play.
Jeff Carter posted a goal and an assist in the loss, while Justin Williams also scored for the Kings. Quick was torched for four goals on just 15 shots in the loss.
"Not a great feeling after a game like this," said Quick. "But it doesn't matter know and we have to move forward. It would have been nice to get the two points, but we just have to work harder our next game."
The Kings won't have to wait long for a chance at revenge against the Red Wings, as LA is scheduled to host Detroit on Tuesday night.