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Recent champs clash as Kings visit Blackhawks

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks ended the Los Angeles Kings' bid for back-to-back Stanley Cup championships last season en route to their second title in four years.

On Sunday night, the Blackhawks will try to snap the Kings' longest winning streak of the season as the two Western Conference powerhouses meet in Chicago.

Los Angeles entered the lockout-shortened season off its first ever Stanley Cup title and went into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The Kings survived tough matchups with St. Louis and San Jose to face the top-seeded Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals, but ran out of steam as Chicago advanced in five games.

That came after the Blackhawks had beaten the Kings in two of three regular- season meetings and Chicago ended up besting the Boston Bruins in six games in the Finals.

The two clubs once again look like championship contenders in 2013-14. Chicago is tops in the NHL with 51 points, with Los Angeles three points off that pace. The Kings also trail the Anaheim Ducks by a single point for first place in the Pacific Division.

Los Angeles comes in rolling, having won a season-high six straight games. That includes the first three of a four-game road trip and the Kings are coming off a 5-2 victory in Ottawa on Saturday night.

Dwight King scored just 21 seconds into the game and Anze Kopitar lit the lamp twice in the triumph that improved the Kings to 22-7-4, the best 33-game start in club history.

King and Jeff Carter both finished with a goal and two assists and Jarret Stoll added a tally to help the Kings move to 8-0-2 in their past 10 on the road.

"We wanted everyone's first shift to be a really good one ... To get that one early and get three early, that was huge for our team and huge for our confidence," said Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty.

Rookie Martin Jones made his fifth start in a row and remained perfect with 37 saves. In addition to his 5-0-0 mark, Jones has a 0.99 goals against average and .967 save percentage.

Jones and fellow netminder Ben Scrivens have been part of a defense that has not allowed a first-period goal in 18 straight games.

Scrivens could get his first start since Dec. 2 tonight and it would be his first ever versus the Blackhawks. He is 7-2-4 with a 1.56 GAA, .943 save percentage and three shutouts in 15 games (12 starts) this season, helping shoulder the load in the absence of Jonathan Quick due to a strained groin.

The Blackhawks are without their top two goaltenders in Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin due to lower-body injuries. Rookie Antti Raanta had gone 5-0-1 over his first six career decisions before taking a 7-3 loss last night in Toronto.

Raanta played the first two periods and gave up five goals on 25 shots faced, lifting his GAA to 2.61 and lowering his save percentage to .911. Kent Simpson allowed two goals on seven shots over the final 20 minutes in his NHL debut.

Patrick Kane scored twice and Brandon Saad also lit the lamp for the Blackhawks, who had won their previous three games by a 19-6 margin.

"We were probably looking for an easy game, thinking we were going to score six goals and that's not going to happen in this league," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had a lot of fortunate goals over that stretch and I think we let our guard down tonight and got what we deserved."

Kane continued his red-hot play with four goals and 12 assists over an eight- game point streak. The forward has found the scoresheet in 20 of his last 21 games and is second in the NHL with 44 points.

Kane has five goals and 15 assists in 22 career regular-season games versus the Kings and notched four goals and an assist during the Western Conference finals, including a Game 5 hat trick.

12/15 10:43:12 ET

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Schedule

Wednesday, April 23Full Scoreboard
Pittsburgh 4/23 7:00 PM ET
Columbus NBCSN, CBC, ROOT, FSN-OH
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Pittsburgh leads series, 2-1.
Anaheim 4/23 8:00 PM ET
Dallas CNBC, TSN, RDS2, FSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Anaheim leads series, 2-1.
St. Louis 4/23 9:30 PM ET
Chicago NBCSN, CBC, FSN-MW, CSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. St. Louis leads series, 2-1.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
8th
CHR 8
DUR 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
2nd
ATL 0
MIA 0
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
3:10pm Today
COL
SFG
3:35pm Today
OAK
TEX
3:40pm Today
SEA
HOU
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
MIN
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
DAL
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
9:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
8th
CHR 8
DUR 0