Free NHL Picks: Beat The Books Tonight & Back Stars Against Kings

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 7:14 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2016 7:14 PM GMT

Divisional leaders collide when the Los Angeles Kings travel to Dallas to face off against the top team in the Western Conference. Let’s review the NHL odds and cash a winner tonight.

Los Angeles Kings (41-27, -1.6 units)
The Kings have won three of their last four and are trying to distance themselves from Anaheim for Central Division supremacy. LA is getting it done with defense as they boast a solid bluelining corps along with the stellar goaltending of eight-year veteran Jonathan Quick. The Kings have allowed an average of just 2.2 goals per game which is tops in the league. Twenty-seven year-old Jhonas Enroth has proven to be a stalwart backup in his limited appearances boasting a 2.01 goals against average complemented by a .931 save percentage.

Quick was at his best in the Kings’ last outing when he turned aside all 32 shots in a 5-0 blanking of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks last night. The NHL odds makers installed Los Angeles as +115 road underdogs but Quick’s dazzling performance not only provided his team with a crucial victory but also lifted him into the history books with his 41st career shutout, now the most amongst American born goaltenders. The offense was equally as dominant with five different players all tallying for LA which was a welcome reprieve from the club’s lethargic efforts in their prior game, a 2-1 overtime loss to the lowly New Jersey Devils.

 

Dallas Stars (41-29, +1.4 units)
The Central Division leading Dallas Stars have lost two of their last three including Saturday’s showdown with their chief rival, the St. Louis Blues. When the dust settled the Blues skated away with a 5-4 overtime victory and knotted the Stars for the top spot in the Central Division though Dallas still has a game in hand. It was a tough loss for the home team after erasing a two goal, third period deficit. Tyler Seguin fired a shot on net that Jamie Benn tipped past St. Louis goalie Jake Allen to tie the game with a little over a minute remaining in regulation. Alex Pietrangelo extinguished the Stars’ short lived celebration at 2:11 into overtime when he lit the lamp and handed Dallas its 12th home loss of the season.

Left winger Jamie Benn leads the team in goals (34), assists (43) and points (77) on the league’s most prolific scoring team this season. Former Boston Bruin Tyler Seguin is right behind with 38 goals, 39 assists and 72 points of his own. The Dallas goaltending platoon of Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen have been middling at best, though to be fair have been victimized at times by poor defensive play in front of them. The Stars are ranked 24th in goals against surrendering 2.9 goals per game.

 

Betting Analysis
Here we have the top defense versus the top offense and if recent history is any indication it will be a battle. If you included the Stars in your NHL picks over their last seven meetings against the Kings you would know Dallas holds a 4-3 edge and a return of +1.7 units. In their only meeting this season it was the Kings that copped a 3-2 home ice victory on January 19th.

As we analyze this battle of Western Conference powers we must consider that LA played just last night and experienced a huge win over a powerful divisional foe in Chicago. In addition, it is very possible that the Kings will give Jonathan Quick the night off and tap backup Jhonas Enroth who has not played since a 2-0 shutout over Buffalo on February 27th. As good as Enroth has been I believe the Stars chances of a critical victory against a team playing their second of back-to-backs increases without Quick tending the twine. Either way, we will side the Stars.

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Free NHL Pick: Dallas Stars -120
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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