Back the Home Underdog for Kings vs. Flames

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, February 27, 2014 4:00 PM GMT

The Flames will host the Kings on Thursday at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with the opening faceoff slated for 9:35 PM ET. Take a look at our top NHL picks for this match-up.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Calgary Flames

According to NHL betting odds the Kings are a -130 money line road favorite and the posted total is 5.0. These teams have seen just 4 of their last 21 meetings go over the total, including 1 of the last 8 played at Calgary. The Kings have won the last 4-games played at Calgary in this series.

Continuing where they Left Off

The Calgary Flames will be playing their first game since the Olympic break tonight. Prior to the sabbatical Calgary had won 6 of their last 8-games overall, including winning their last 5 home games in a row. The Flames are currently 6th in the Pacific Division, and are 13th overall in the Western Conference. They’re 13-points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the West with 24 regular season games left to play. The Flames have seen 13 of their last 18 home games go under the total.

Thrown into the Flames

Calgary has listed rookie Joni Ortio to be their starter in goal tonight. This will be Ortio’s first ever career start and appearance in a NHL uniform. The 22-year old native of Finland had played 28-games this season for the AHL Abbotsford Heat posting a 2.22 GAA, a stellar .926 save percentage, and earned 2 shutouts. Ortio began the season with the ECHL Alaska Aces appearing in 4-games with an excellent 1.01 GAA, a terrific .944 save percentage, and posted 2 shutouts.

More of Last Night Needed

The Los Angeles Kings come off a sorely needed confidence building win last night at Colorado. The Kings overcame a 4-2 deficit late in the 2nd period and stormed back for a 6-4 win. They were certainly helped by the shaky goaltending of Colorado’s Jean Sebastien Giguere, but seeing the puck go in the net for a team that has struggled to score can do wonders. Prior to last night’s 6-goal outburst, the Kings had scored 1-goal or less in 7 of their previous 8-games during regulation time. The win last night was just the 3rd in the last 16 road games. United States Olympic team starting goaltender Jonathan Quick was given the night off after enduring a rigorous schedule over the last few weeks. Quick is expected to be back in goal this evening. Los Angeles is allowing just 2.1 goals per game, and has shutout opponents on 9 occasions this season, which is best in both categories league wide. The Kings have lost their last 4-games when playing with no rest, and have gone over the total in just 1 of their last 7 in that exact situation. The Kings enter tonight 3rd in the Pacific Division, and 6th overall in the Western Conference.

Final Analysis

The general public is sure to be swayed by last night’s impressive comeback win by the Kings. I will have to see more scoring consistency before I become a believer. However, playing with no rest, with an extremely tired goaltender (Jonathan Quick), versus a red-hot team at home, prompts me to give a slight nod to the underdog for our NHL pick in this spot.

Free Pick: Calgary +110 over Los Angeles

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