Blackhawks close out circus trip vs Kings tonight; beat Ducks yesterday

The Blackhawks circus trip wraps up Saturday night with a game versus the Stanley Cup-defending Los Angeles Kings.

But first, the Blackhawks played the Ducks in Anaheim on Friday afternoon, and beat them handily, 4-1.

Chicago might have stumbled their way through October, but they're rounding into form nicely in November, going 8-5-0 and outscoring opponents by an average of 3-2 (42-28), including 25 in their past six games. On the extended Western Conference swing, Coach Joel Quenneville hasn't been hitting the line blender quite as frequently. The line of Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg, and Brad Richards have really clicked in particular - racking up the points across the trip.

Despite battling injuries and illness (mumps), the Ducks have remained in the top three in the Pacific Division, going 14-4-5 prior to Friday's game.

Brad Richards opened up the scoring for the Blackhawks 7:58 into the first. Andrew Shaw would extend the lead to 2-0 several minutes later, and it would take 16:49 into the first for the Ducks to get on to the board to make it 2-1.

Two would be all that the Blackhawks needed, but Kane would collect two more - both with a primary assist from Versteeg - for Chicago to make it 4-1.

Anaheim's goalie, Frederik Andersen, had an excellent game while the rest of the Ducks struggled against the Blackhawks. Chicago peppered him with 38 SOG, with an additional 26 attempted shots.

Corey Crawford improved to 11-5-1, with 1.92 GAA and .928 sv%. He'll get his 14th consecutive start tonight versus the Los Angeles Kings. In nine regular season games versus LA, Crawford is 6-3-0, 2.74 GAA, and .906 sv%.

It is the first time the Blackhawks will face the Kings since LA eliminated Chicago from the Western Conference Final in Game 7 on United Center ice - a series that was more exciting and more thrilling than the actual Stanley Cup Final.

The Blackhawks and Kings have built a solid rivalry over the past several seasons. Both teams were put together between solid drafting and good trade picks/acquisitions leading up to their first Cups in over 40 years, and both have won two Stanley Cups in the past five seasons. The Blackhawks are built to be speedy, while the Kings are built to be big; the two teams play some highly entertaining hockey together.

Los Angeles has struggled a bit to start the season, but has improved to 12-6-5 and now sits at 7th in the West. Both LA and Chicago now have 29 points.

Jonathan Quick is expected to be in net for the Kings. Quick is 6-12-1, 2.76 GAA, and .910 sv% versus the Blackhawks in 19 regular-season games.


- Patrick Sharp remains out of the lineup for the Blackhawks, and will not join them on this team. The team has been playing so well in his absence, however, that the team will have to figure out where to best utilize him in the lineup.

- Alec Martinez (finger) reamins out, as does Slava Voynov, who remains suspended indefinitely while under domestic abuse charges.