We’ve entered “must-win” territory. After a disappointing outcome on Sunday, the LA Kings have just eight games to go. Todd McLellan’s club holds a two-point advantage over the Vegas Golden Knights for the third and final spot in the Pacific Division. However, Vegas has a game in hand on LA.

The Kings’ final seven of eight games are against non-playoff teams, with Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche being the outlier. It’s time to win the games you should.

First up, the Chicago Blackhawks. Here’s how the two teams stack up on paper.

LA Kings Chicago Blackhawks
Credit: JFresh Hockey
LA Kings Chicago Blackhawks
Credit: NHL.com

Top scorers:

LAK: Anze Kopitar – 18 goals, 43 assists, 61 points

CHI: Patrick Kane – 22 goals, 60 assists, 82 points

Betting Odds

Despite this one being played in Chicago, the Kings come into this one as favorites, per our sponsors at DraftKings.

Use Promo Code: THPN

  • Kings Odds: -145
  • Blackhawks Odds: +125 
  • Over/Under: 6.0
  • Time: 5:30 pm PT
  • Broadcast Info: NBCSCH, KCOP-13, ESPN+

Projected Lineups

Here’s how the Kings aligned in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Minnesota:

Per the practice notes on LAKI, Alex Iafallo was skating among the bottom-six forwards. The 28-year-old has had a difficult second half of the season, tallying just one goal and five assists in 27 games while shooting at an uncharacteristically low 1.5% shot rate. Aside from Kempe, the Kings really need their first line to show up here down the stretch.

Blake Lizotte returned to the lineup in his normal 4C spot among the forward lines. It was interesting to see Arthur Kaliyev get the healthy scratch in favor of Carl Grundstrom, but the latter ended up scoring the game’s second goal.

Also, with Cal Petersen not showing his best on Sunday, I’d expect Jonathan Quick to get the start between the pipes. The future Hall-of-Famer got the start against the Blackhawks back on March 24, stopping 28-of-31 shots, but the Kings fell in a shootout.

I’d also like to see the Kings make an adjustment along the blueline, splitting up the Durzi – Bjornfot pairing. The duo has been on the ice for way too many goals this year. Health dependent, Alex Edler can facilitate some defensive pairing changes.

Here’s how the Blackhawks aligned in Sunday’s 6-4 loss to the Stars:

Chicago had lost six straight games going into Sunday, now at seven games, and head coach Derek King switched up the forward lines.

Kevin Lankinen got the start for the Blackhawks on Sunday, but he was replaced by Collin Delia after the second period when the Hawks trailed 5-3. The Kings saw Delia last time out, and he stopped 43-of-46 shots. It appears that he is the expected starter for the Blackhawks.

Again, this is a must-win game for the Kings, who face Colorado on Wednesday. Of note, I’ll be in attendance.

(Main Photo Credit: Hockey Royalty)

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