Kings Fall To Blackhawks, Drop Fourth Straight Game

The Kings have lost their last three meetings with the Blackhawks at Staples Center.

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Kings Lose To Blackhawks, 4-3

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Jonathan Toews received credit for the game-winner with 5:27 to play as the Chicago Blackhawks took a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Patrick Sharp had two goals and an assist and Marian Hossa also scored for the Blackhawks, who snapped a three-game slide. Corey Crawford stopped 26 shots in the win. Ryan Smyth scored twice and Michal Handzus had the other goal for the Kings, who have dropped four in a row for the second time this season. Jonathan Quick got the loss for giving up all four goals on 28 shots.

Just under two minutes after Smyth tied the game with his second goal of the contest, Toews gave Chicago the advantage, accidentally. With the puck behind the Los Angeles net, it popped out front and hit off of Quick. Drew Doughty was on the doorstep and tried to clear it away, but it hit off of Toews and went in for a 4-3 lead. Los Angeles continued to press in an effort to net the equalizer, but was unable to even the game as Chicago swept the four-game season-series.

Handzus scored 4:28 into the game and was countered by Hossa's power-play goal with 1:18 left in the opening period. The Hawks again used the power play to take a 2-1 lead at the 7:11 mark of the second as Patrick Kane sent a pass from the right circle to the left where Sharp one-timed it home. With 1:43 to play in the second, Los Angeles tied the game on a breakaway by Smyth, who slipped the disc between the pads of Crawford.

Sharp gave Chicago a 3-2 lead 4:27 into the third when he charged the net, lost control of the puck and got it back prior to snapping it past Quick. Los Angeles, though, again evened the contest as Jack Johnson threw a simple wrister on net from the left point that was deflected in by Smyth at the right side with 7:18 left.

The Blackhawks play at home on Wednesday against Dallas...Los Angeles hosts Nashville on Thursday...Toews had missed the past two games with a shoulder injury suffered in St. Louis on December 28. It was thought that he was going to miss two weeks...Chicago has taken nine of the past 10 in the series...Chicago went 2-for-4 on the power play while Los Angeles was 1-for-5.

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

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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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