Kings (11-7-4, 26 points) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (13-7-3, 29 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Five storylines to track:
1. Turn the page: The Kings experienced one of those losses Wednesday night in Dallas that stick around long after the final horn. Leading by a goal in the final minute, they gave up the tying goal to the Stars with 20.4 seconds remaining and then lost in overtime, 3-2. Kings coach Terry Murray canceled a scheduled practice for Thanksgiving Day, giving the players a chance to regroup. Let’s see if they return the favor with a 60-minute effort against Chicago.
2. Staying the course: Despite a slashing penalty by veteran forward Ethan Moreau that basically set the Stars up for their game-tying goal, or Kyle Clifford’s miss on a wide-open net in the third period, Murray said he’s sticking with the same lineup against Chicago. That means Moreau and Clifford are in, and Trevor Lewis and Brad Richardson will take another seat as healthy scratches. That’s a bit of a gamble because the best quality Lewis and Richardson bring to the team is speed, and the Blackhawks are one of the speediest teams in the league.
3. Familiar face: After spending the first six years of his career in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Flyers and then coming to L.A. in an offseason trade, Kings center Mike Richards is still a bit of a mystery to Western Conference teams. The Blackhawks know him well, however. Richards was with the Flyers when they lost to Chicago in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. He struggled during that six-game series, producing a goal and an assist and finishing minus-7. Richards is on a roll heading into this game, however, owning eight goals in the last eight games, including at least one in five straight.
4. Sharpe is nails: Something about the Kings brings out the best in Chicago center Patrick Sharp. He has 17 goals and 12 assists in 20 career games against Los Angeles, the only team in the league against which he averages more than a point a game. In his last game in Los Angeles in January, he had two goals and an assist in a 4-3 victory. He tuned up for the Kings by scoring his second career hat trick Friday afternoon in a 6-5 victory against the Ducks.
5. On your marks: The Blackhawks aren’t timid about getting into a track meet with opponents. They came into Friday’s game against the Ducks fourth in the league at 3.1 goals a game and remain the only team with four players owning at least 70 shots on goal. No other team in the NHL has more than two players past that mark. Because of their wide-open style, they also have a tendency to give up goals in bunches. In the last four games, they’ve allowed 20.