The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks are set to face-off in a crucial Game 5 for the Kings.
Los Angeles are faced with a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-7 series and will look to keep their back-to-back Stanley Cup dream alive. It will be a tough task for the Kings to defeat the Hawks on the road. They are 1-7 away from the Staples Center in the post-season versus 8-1 at home. However their past performances do not matter because tonight is basically a Game 7 for the Kings.
They are hoping that they will get Mike Richards back for tonight’s contest. He missed the last three games because of a concussion but may return to the lineup tonight. Richards skated on the Kings fourth line with Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan in this morning’s pre-game skate, which would suggest he will be in the lineup.
“I’d say it’s 50/50,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter on whether Richards will play.
In Game 4 the Blackhawks continued to get strong goaltending from Corey Crawford who’s 1.72 GAA still leads all netminders in the playoffs. Jonathan Quick will need to be in top-form tonight and will likely need to steal the game for the Kings who are struggling to score versus Chicago. They have been outscored 10-8 in the series.
If the Kings are going to win they will need Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown to awaken from their post-season slumber. Each player posted 20 points in last year’s Stanley Cup run, but have struggled this year. Brown is ninth on his team in scoring with just four points in 17 games. Kopitar is not much better with seven points and an Even plus/minus rating. One bright spot for the Kings has been 23-year-old defenseman Slava Voynov. He has recorded a team-high 12 points and plus-10 rating.
Prediction: Kings prevail with a stellar performance from Jonathan Quick. Kings win 2-0.
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