Los Angeles (10-5-2) at Chicago (8-5-2)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 53° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Mon Nov 9, 2009
  • TV: NBCS, TSN2
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A return home could be just what the Chicago Blackhawks need to rebound from a pair of road defeats. Potentially getting captain Jonathan Toews(notes) back from injury could also help.

The Blackhawks hope Toews will be available as they open a four-game homestand Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings, coming off its first regulation loss in nine games.

Chicago (8-5-2) has gone 1-2-1 over its last four games with all three defeats coming on the road. The team lost 4-3 at Colorado on Friday after eight rounds of shootouts ended when right wing Dustin Byfuglien’s(notes) slap shot missed the net. That defeat came a night after a 3-1 loss at Phoenix.

“We have a couple of days off so the back-to-back games aren’t too bad,” right wing Troy Brouwer(notes) said after the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 first-period lead against the Avalanche. “We came out and had a great start, but we weren’t able to maintain it throughout the game.”

The Blackhawks will play four games at home before playing six games in 10 days during their annual road trip caused by the circus at the United Center.

Chicago has capitalized on home-ice advantage, going 6-2-1.

The Blackhawks could have a better chance of improving their home record if Toews can return from concussion-like symptoms stemming from a hard hit by Vancouver’s Willie Mitchell(notes) in the third period of a 3-2 loss on Oct. 21.

Chicago is 3-2-1 without the All-Star center.

Toews, who was nominated for the 2008 Calder Trophy won by teammate Patrick Kane(notes), had a goal and three assists in his last four games after managing one assist in the first five contests of the season. The third overall pick in the 2006 draft led Chicago with 34 goals while adding 35 assists - both career highs - in 2008-09.

Toews has three goals and three assists in four home games against the Kings (10-5-2).

Chicago and Los Angeles split four meetings last season with the home team winning each time. The Blackhawks hold a 5-1-1 advantage in the last seven meetings with the Kings at the United Center.

The Kings are looking to rebound from a listless 3-1 defeat to Nashville on Saturday, two nights after an impressive 5-2 win over reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh.

“They beat us from the dots to the boards in every area of the ice,” said coach Terry Murray, whose team had recorded at least one point in each of its previous eight games. “You can’t just play this game on skill alone. It’s about hard work and digging in for 60 minutes. It doesn’t matter who you’re going to play. And emotionally, we didn’t find it here (Saturday).”

Los Angeles is second in the Western Conference with 57 goals, but it has been held to one tally in each of its last four defeats.

Anze Kopitar(notes) has been a major part of the Kings’ offensive success. The center leads the NHL with 27 points and ranks second with 13 goals, one behind Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin.

Kopitar, however, has been quiet in the Kings’ seven losses, scoring one goal with four assists. He has two goals and one assist in five games at Chicago.

The Kings might gain some inspiration Monday from Luc Robitaille, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Robitaille scored 557 his 668 career goals in a Kings uniform and is currently the club’s president of business operations.

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Monday, Nov 9