The slumping Los Angeles Kings play host to the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night. With the aid of the newly aquired Jeff King, can the Kings drop the title of hte lowest scoring team in the NHL, or will Chicago snuff their attempts?
The Los Angeles Kings stole headlines on Thursday when
they traded for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter. Goal scoring has
been a problem all season long as the Kings are the lowest scoring team in the
league, but Carter is a former 40-goal scorer that could address those
concerns. The concern is that Carter has been disgruntled all season long and
might not be the player he once was in Philadelphia.
Fans, bettors and touts
all expected the Kings to be Stanley Cup contenders this season and while their
defense and goaltending have been up to snuff, their impotent offense has been
their Achilles heel all season long.
So is he the missing piece or are the Kings trying to
force something that’s really not there.
At the time of writing, sportsbooks have not released the NHL odds. However, we are going to go ahead and breakdown this matchup to get a jump on the NHL betting lines. Find out why we are adding the Chicago Blackhawks to our NHL picks Saturday evening.
The Chicago Blackhawks can win because…
The Kings are still slumping and a roll of the dice might
not pan out. Let’s face it: the Kings have been a low scoring team for years
and adding another piece may or may not help. The Kings added Dustin Penner at
the trade deadline last year, then added Mike Richards and Simon Gagne in the
offseason. Even with that, they’re still the lowest scoring team in the NHL.
For now, we can’t deal with “maybes” and “what ifs”. The
reality is that the Kings have lost four straight and eight of 10.
The Hawks have won four of five and even though they are
coming off a loss on Thursday, effort wasn’t the culprit. The Stars won 3-1 in
Chicago and the goals came off unfortunate deflections and turnovers. Chicago
still played well defensively as they have over the last five games.
The Los Angeles Kings can win because…
Carter is exactly what they need. Sure, he slumped in
Columbus, but who wouldn’t? The Jackets were supposed to be an improved,
up-and-coming team when they acquired Carter in the offseason but instead, they
are the worst team in the NHL. It’s no wonder Carter slacked off.
In Los Angeles, Carter gets thrown right back into the
playoff race on a team that’s good enough to win the Cup – believe it or not.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick is having a
Vezina caliber season and the Kings defense is solid – even after trading away
Jack Johnson. What they need is more firepower up front and Carter provides
He’ll be reunited with his former teammate and friend
Mike Richards, which should also help him get going. Richards has just 31
points through 53 games and the Kings were clearly expecting more. If the
addition of Carter sparks Richards too, then the Kings have really hit it big.
If Carter is the catalyst, the Kings can get on a roll
and they’re not going to be a team anyone wants to face in the playoffs.
Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:
Trend-wise, the Kings are an odd team. They’re not great
at home (15-13-4) but also not great on the road (12-9-8). Currently, they’re
the 10th best team in the West, but their -6 goal differential suggests
they are better than that.
Saturday’s matchup is all about Carter. Even if he’s not
a huge factor on the ice, the move to get him is a big boost and should be
encouraging to the players. Johnson will be missed, but not so much as he had
the worst plus-minus on the team.
The Blackhawks are a weak road team (12-15-3) and their
power play has yet to tally a goal since the All-Star break (0-for-31). Throw
in the fact that Jonathan Toews (upper body) may miss the game and there is
good reason to take the Kings to end their losing streak and get a statement
NHL Picks: Kings