Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks played arguably their best period of hockey in the third period against Anaheim, coming back from a 4-2 deficit to put the game in the win column with a 6-5 victory. Jonathan Toews notched 2 goals and 3 assists to go along with Patrick Sharp’s hat-trick. Corey Crawford had a solid outing stopping 24 shots, while Jonas Hiller had his night spoiled by getting the hook when the ‘Hawks onslaught got the best of him.

Whatever happened in the locker room between the 2nd and 3rd, it needs to happen before tonight’s game. If the ‘Hawks bring that kind of energy against the Kings, they’ll be in pretty good shape.

Chicago took all four games against Los Angeles last year, though there were some rather significant changes to the Kings’ lineup in the off-season. The most noteworthy additions to the roster were left wing Simon Gagne and center Mike Richards. Those two combined for 40 goals and 106 points last year, and will be potent additions to a lineup that already includes Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Justin Williams. Those five sit together atop the list of team scoring leaders.

Los Angeles comes into this game with middling stats pretty much across the board, with the exception of goals against. The Kings are quite stingy defensively, allowing just 2.27 goals against — sixth best in the league. Netminder Jonathan Quick is a big reason for this, being the owner of a .930 save percentage. That’s good for 8th best in the league, but also noteworthy in that nobody with better numbers has played as many games has he has. If we’re going to come home from this road trip at .500, getting through Quick is how we do it. It’s that simple.

As for the Blackhawks, this is still a team trying to settle into a groove on this Circus Trip. Three straight losses, important injuries, and perpetual line jostling has taken its toll, and that was evident in the first period against Anaheim. Dropping behind 2-0 within the first two minutes, the Blackhawks were back on their heels and took some time to recover. There has been no practice since the game against the Ducks, so it will be by pure willpower that the team will regain its composure tonight.

Let’s hope Head Coach Joel Quenneville has bottled some of what the team was drinking in the 3rd period, and spikes the water bottles this evening.

Administrative nonsense: the Kings will be without the services of forward Dustin Penner and defenseman Alec Martinez, both sidelined for some number of games with injuries. Former Blackhawks in uniform for Los Angeles include Colin Fraser and Ethan Moreau. It will be the same lineup for the Blackhawks tonight as it was against Anaheim, Q is superstitious about that kind of thing. We’ll be facing Quick in goal for Los Angeles, and Ray Emery will try to atone for a shaky outing against Edmonton when he straps on the pads tonight.

Late start on the west coast tonight, game kicks off at 9:30pm Central. WGN has the television coverage; WGN AM-720 with the radio broadcast; XM has the game on channel 212; Sirius Premiere customers should look for the game on channel 211.

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