Kings Host Blackhawks Hoping To End Losing Streak

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks have yet to lose four games in a row this season. Their injured captain seems intent on making sure that doesn't happen tonight. Jonathan Toews could return this evening less than a week after suffering a shoulder injury as the Blackhawks aim for their first season-series sweep of the Los Angeles Kings in 28 seasons this evening at Staples Center.

It was thought that Toews would miss at least two weeks with his injury, which he suffered last Tuesday versus St. Louis. However, the 22-year-old skated prior to yesterday's 2-1 loss in Anaheim and Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said his captain is a possibility for this contest. "He obviously means a lot to us in a lot of ways and he 's so useful as a coach to put him in a lot of different situations so we're very excited about the chance of getting him," Quenneville said.

Toews is second on the club with 33 points and his club skated to a 2-1 setback to the Ducks in his second game missed. Chicago dropped its third in a row despite outshooting Anaheim 40-18 in the game and 19-2 in the third period. Bryan Bickell had the lone goal and Corey Crawford, who had missed the previous three games with illness, made 16 saves, including one on a Teemu Selanne penalty shot in the third period.

"We kind of peppered [Ducks goaltender Jonas] Hiller there, he did his job, and stood on his head," Chicago's Jack Skille said. "He made a couple of big saves. It's easy to get frustrated when the other goalie is doing that. But I think we did a good job pressing forward and I'm bummed we didn't get the win."

Chicago has also lost three in a row on the road and the defending Stanley Cup champs are tied with Columbus for last in the Central Division and 10th in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks will try to recover tonight against a Kings club they are 3-0 versus this year and have won five straight overall against. Chicago is also 8-0-1 in the last nine meetings and is attempting to sweep its season series with Los Angeles for the first time since taking all three meetings in 1981-82.

Crawford has won a pair of meetings over the Kings this year, stopping 47- of-50 shots faced, while Marty Turco made 33 saves in the first meeting on Oct. 27 and could get the call tonight. He is 17-13-7 with a pair of ties and 2.53 goals-against average when facing the Kings lifetime.

Toews had a goal and an assist in the last meeting to give him seven goals and six helpers in 15 career meetings.

Los Angeles has lost its last two at home versus Chicago and has also dropped the first two contests of an eight-game homestand. The Kings were last in action on Saturday, when they dropped a 1-0 test to the Sharks for their third straight loss overall. LA had been outscored 13-7 in its previous two setbacks before losing the defensive battle. Jonathan Quick made 18 saves.

"The second half of the year everyone's playing for points and it's the new year and we're right there in the pack," said Kings forward Dustin Brown. "There's going to be a lot of games like that, we need to find a way to play that way and score some goals at the same time." Los Angeles, which lost a season-worst four consecutive games from Nov. 22-29, is fourth in the Pacific Division and tied for sixth in the conference. Quick has lost a pair of starts this year versus the Blackhawks and is 2-7-1 with a 2.74 GAA versus them in his career.

For more Kings news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Jewels From The Crown.

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