The Los Angeles Kings will miss center Mike Richards for a third consecutive game as they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the Western Conference finals Thursday at Staples Center.
Already down 2-1 in the series, Richards is out with a head injury and Los Angeles runs the risk of losing control of the series. With eight assists, much of the Kings offense has run through Richards during the playoffs.
Chicago will also miss the services of defenseman Duncan Keith, whose high stick penalty to Kings right wing Jeff Carter in Game Three earned him a one game suspension.
The Kings managed to defend home ice in their 3-1 Game Three victory behind a goal from hot-shooting Justin Williams and another goal and assist from defenseman Slava Voynov. Williams has four goals in his last four games, and Voynov already has three assists in this series.
Goalie Jonathan Quick made up his career playoff worst .765 save percentage in Game Two by blocking 19 of Chicago’s 20 shots in Game Three.
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Up until Game Three, Chicago was riding a five-game winning streak and goalie Corey Crawford had turned away 136 of 144 shots.
Chicago had also found a way to win despite the scoring-droughts from captain center Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane. Toews has one goal in the entire playoffs, and Kane hasn’t scored since Game Three against Detroit in the conference quarterfinal round.
The game begins at 9 p.m. Eastern and will be covered by NBC Sports Network, or watch a free live online stream on NBC Live Extra here.
Betting Odds: Los Angeles is favored by 1.5 goals.
Over/Under: 4.5 goals
Prediction: Los Angeles 4-2