A convincing victory over their biggest rival has the short-handed Chicago Blackhawks believing they might have turned things around after a recent rough stretch.
The Blackhawks look to build on their latest effort while trying to continue their recent dominance of the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night at the United Center.
Mired in a three-game losing streak -- and still without injured stars Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa -- Chicago (17-14-3) thoroughly outplayed Western Conference-leading Detroit in a 4-1 home victory Friday.
"It was a great win and confidence boost for us," said forward Tomas Kopecky, who had two goals against his former team.
Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 18th goal and defenseman Brent Seabrook added two assists as the Blackhawks played penalty-free while allowing fewer than two goals for the first time in eight games.
"We feel real confident we can play that game all the time," Seabrook said.
It's been hard for the Blackhawks to produce that kind of complete effort with Kane (ankle) out for the past five games and Hossa (lower-body injury) the last eight. Though both are expected to miss this contest, Hossa could be close to returning.
"We'll see," coach Joel Quenneville told the Blackhawks' official website. "He's progressing."
Regardless who is on the ice, the Blackhawks should be confident while trying for a fifth consecutive win over the Kings.
Chicago owns a 24-10 scoring advantage while going 7-0-1 versus Los Angeles since last losing on Jan. 29, 2009. The Blackhawks have outscored the Kings 5-2 while winning both meetings this season, including 3-1 on Oct. 27 at the United Center.
Sharp has two goals with an assist versus Los Angeles this season, and 15 goals with nine assists in 18 games against the Kings.
Corey Crawford, who made 29 saves to snap a three-game skid Friday, stopped 21 shots in a 2-1 win on Nov. 27 at Los Angeles.
Former Chicago starter Marty Turco has allowed 18 goals while going 0-3-0 in his last four starts, but made 33 saves versus Los Angeles in October.
Though the Kings (18-11-1) have struggled to score against the Blackhawks, Los Angeles has 15 goals while winning two of three on a five-game trip, highlighted by a 6-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday.
Ryan Smyth scored twice, star defenseman Drew Doughty had a goal with an assist and Dustin Brown added two assists as Los Angeles won for the fifth time in seven contests.
"Everybody started the right way and did the right things throughout," Kings coach Terry Murray said.
Though Brown has two goals and nine assists in seven games, he's recorded just one goal in his last eight games versus Chicago.
Doughty has a goal and five assists in three games, but has been held without a point against the Blackhawks this season.
With Jonathan Bernier getting the win over the Predators, Jonathan Quick should be back in net following Thursday's 6-4 loss at St. Louis where he allowed a season-high five goals.
Quick is 15-6-1 with a 1.98 GAA this season, but has lost three straight and six of seven against the Blackhawks.
Bernier was defeated in his only career appearance against Chicago in October.
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