Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stat Check: Kings v Blackhawks

Normally I do my Stat Check feature as a Twitter exclusive, today it was too long, so here goes:

* Between the Pipes - With the Hawks playing Huet last night in Anaheim there's a good chance the Kings will face back-up goaltender Antti Niemi. Unfortunately, that might not be such good news. Huet is 1-2-0 lifetime vs the Kings. And Neime? Well, after giving up just 2 goals and stopping 22 others vs the Kings last season, he earned his first NHL victory.

* More on the Netminders - Goaltending has been strong for the Hawks this season, as they currently lead the league with the fewest shots allowed per game at 24.2 (LA is second at just 26.3.). However, last night Chicago gave up a season high 34 shots to the Ducks and have now been outshot in three of their last five games. While goal differential isn't as important in the NHL as it is in international play, entering tonight's game the numbers for the season are quite glaring. Chi-town's team is +23 for the season (scoring 23 times more than their opponents), while LA is -3.

* Split Decision - The two teams split the four game series last season, each winning their pair on home ice. Earlier this month the trend continued in the first match up this season when the Kings lost to the Hawks in Chicago.

* Bucking the Trend - When teams play the second game of back to back nights the odds strongly favor the more rested team...unless you're the Blackhawks. Last year they finished will above .500 in those second games and this season they're an astonishing and 4-0-1 in the second game. Time to erase that zero tonight?

* Balance of Power - Chicago has the fourth best powerplay on the road, LA has the third best powerplay at home. Both teams average about 12 penalty minutes per game. Pretty even so far. Then comes the penalty kill. Chicago is 21st on road, LA is 28th at home. Evenly miserable?

* Olympic Preview - Several players on both teams will be seeing time for their respective countries in Vancouver next February. Interestingly enough, Duncan Keith (Chi) and Drew Doughty (LA) could even be defensive partners.

Finally, its my birthday so I'm feeling a little froggy today. How about a prediction:

Kings win 4-2. Brown and Stoll each have a three point night.


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