The Los Angeles Kings will be hoping to stay atop the Pacific when they host the division rival Edmonton Oilers at the Staples Center on Saturday. Los Angeles has alternated wins and losses dating back to Oct. 31 and is coming off a 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Thursday. Edmonton has dropped three of its last four contests following Thursday’s 4-1 setback at Arizona.
Edmonton Oilers (6-11 SU, 9-8 PL, 10-6-1 O/U) at Los Angeles Kings (10-6 SU, 5-11 PL, 3-6-7 O/U)
Odds: Los Angeles Kings -205.
Insult to injury
No. 1 overall picked Connor McDavid has missed four games so far with a broken collarbone and the Oilers will be without him for several more months. Additionally, a minor stomach bug appears to be sweeping their locker room.
Forward Benoit Pouliot played in Wednesday’s win over the Ducks but became the latest illness casualty when he missed Thursday’s loss to the Coyotes. Pouliot, who has three goals and six assists this season, is expected to be back Saturday.
In McDavid’s absence, though, forward Teddy Purcell has been stepping up. He contributed an assist last Sunday against Chicago and scored the overtime game-winner at Anaheim’s expense on Wednesday.
“We need a lot from him,” head coach Todd McLellan said of Purcell. “We need him to be a leader, to perform like he did (Wednesday) night and produce. Especially with the number of injuries and illness we have. He’s a veteran guy that can settle things down when he’s playing well.”
Lucic scores again
The Kings are 10-3 since forward Milan Lucic joined a line with right wing Tyler Toffoli and center Jeff Carter. Lucic scored his second goal in the last three games during Thursday’s victory over the Islanders. Toffoli leads the team with 10 goals and Carter is topping L.A.’s points chart with 16.
“Jeff’s a guy with a lot of speed and you can tell he is using it well,” Lucic said. “He is controlling the play and using myself and Toff to support him.”
Toffoli has picked up right where he left off–and then some–after scoring 23 goals last season.
“I’m trying to find different ways to score goals,” Toffoli explained. “You have to find a new way (every time), and that’s what I’m trying to do right now. Right now it’s working pretty well for me.”
Trends for Edmonton Oilers
13-40 in their last 53 road games
12-50 in their last 62 games against the Western Conference
0-6 in their last six trips to Los Angeles
Trends for Los Angeles Kings
10-3 in their last 13 overall
7-2 in their last nine games against the Western Conference
19-7 in the last 26 meetings between the two teams
So a few key thinks to note before locking in your NHL picks. Primary starter Jonathan Quick will be back in goal for the Kings after Jhonas Enroth starred in the win on Thursday. Quick is 7-6 with a decent 2.30 goals-against average and .914 save percentage this season. As for the Oilers, playing three games is four nights is not a good recipe for a team that is short-handed and dealing with illness. Los Angeles is 19-7 in the last 26 head-to-head meetings, including 6-0 in its last six at home against Edmonton. I count on those trends continuing today, and it the -210 price tag shows that the NHL odds makers agree.
Free NHL Pick: Los Angeles Kings -210 at Heritage