CHICAGO -- Defenseman Drew Doughty was pondering why the Kings have had so much trouble against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
Then again, who hasn't? The Kings are hardly alone as plenty of teams have struggled at the United Center.
"In the past, our team hasn’t really shown up for most games at the 'Madhouse,' here or whatever it’s called," he said after Monday's morning skate. "We need to be able to show up. We have to be able to beat them in this rink and we haven’t in the last five years. So we need to start today."
You can forgive Doughty for forgetting that the Kings actually did win here in March last season. In fact, he had one of the highlight plays of the year, weaving through five Blackhawks with a series of dazzling moves. Unfortunately, for Doughty, the goal went to Dwight King as Doughty's shot went off King's skate.
Anyhow, that victory was long forgotten by him. The Kings lost all three games in Chicago of their Western Conference Final in June. More recently, they were outplayed in a 3-1 loss here on Dec. 15.
Doughty noted that the Kings weren't quite ready at the start.
"They're obviously a great home team," he said. "We have no excuses. You’re out there for the anthem and the crowd is cheering and going crazy throughout the whole national anthem. Right away, that just gives you the chills and gets you ready to go.
"It should be an easy boost. Right from puck drop, we should be ready to go, so that's not an excuse."
Again, the Kings will be dressing seven defensemen, just like they did in Nashville, according to Kings Coach Darryl Sutter. Sutter usually declines to tip his hand in those matters. He also had a Sutter-like take on Dustin Brown's assertion that he had lost 13 pounds during a recent bout with the flu.
"Do you think if he had lost 13 pounds, we would have played him [in Nashville]?" Sutter said.
Sutter evaluated the play of defenseman Willie Mitchell, who returned to action on Saturday.
"He played his normal game, pretty much," Sutter said. "I think he got caught on the penalty-killing goal. He was tired and he should have stayed out. He was the left-side guy, should have stayed. The other three had to come [out]."
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