One can’t exactly say the Kings have a good recent history against the Chicago Blackhawks. Not at all, actually. The Kings have lost six consecutive games to the Blackhawks and are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games against Chicago, and the one victory came in a shootout. The Kings haven’t enjoyed a regulation victory in Chicago since March 23, 2007, although they did have an overtime win in Dec. 2007. Still, not surprisingly, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville pulled out the standard “praise the opposing team’’ quotes when asked about how the Kings have looked under new coach Darryl Sutter.
QUENNEVILLE: “They seem like they’re working hard. They always play hard. They’ve got some energy and they’ll come out with a couple good games, solid games. They’re pretty consistent in how they compete. They’re a good team and they’re in a lot of games, and they don’t make it easy on the opponent.’’
Question: Are they one of the teams that has surprised you this season, given how they improved their roster in the summer.
QUENNEVILLE: “Yeah, but they’re deep, they’re solid, they’re big and they play physical. We want to make sure that we try to play in their end as best we can. We know they’re going to be in our end a bit too, and we’ve got to defend.’’
Question: (Blackhawks players) said the games against the Kings have all been tight recently. Is that how you see it?
QUENNEVILLE: “Every game is different. Every game has been close. We had a stretch there where every game, it was getting late in the game and we got points. We’ve had some success in overtime. The last couple games, the score probably wasn’t indicative of how close those games were.’’
For Sutter, it’s a chance to show that the Kings are making progress. They are 2-0-1 under Sutter, with a shootout win over Anaheim, a shootout loss to San Jose and a regulation win over Phoenix.
SUTTER: “I liked our game in San Jose the best of all three, quite honestly. I thought our game the other night was pretty typical of a game after the holidays, for both teams. I thought we had a really good start and they had a really good second, then we had a really good third. But I thought both teams made a lot of mental mistakes during the game, and probably that’s why it was a higher-scoring game.’’