People placing NHL picks frequently may have noticed that the Los Angeles Kings have picked up the pace in pursuit of defending their Stanley Cup Championship. Are they a lock tonight vs. Minnesota Wild?
Face-off is set for tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. NHL odds lists the Kings as a -120 betting favorite on the road and with the inferior record. The total for the game is listed at 5 goals. Is the lack of respect being shown to the Wild good fade material?
We have confirmation that Jonathan Quick will be in net for the favorite Kings and Devan Dubnyk will be between the pipes for the host Wild.
Minnesota has been a winning team with good balance. They especially excel at defense. The Wild are 9th in the NHL in goals allowed and are one of the best power play killing teams in the league.
Where Devan Dubnyk is concerned, he's been one of the best goalies in the league. At 34-11-3 with a 2.07 GAA, the Kings will have their work cut out for them in trying to get the past pack "Double D". Dubnyk is 4-0 in his last 4 games and 10-3 with a 1.84 GAA in the month of March.
Where Jonathan Quick is concerned, his numbers haven't been as good as Dubnyk's but everyone knows that he's one of the most clutch goalies in the game. Quick is 8-3-2 with a 1.88 GAA in the month of March as the Kings attempt to get into the post-season. This should be a tight matchup.
A Tall Order
Martin Gaborik might only have 42 points on the season, but he's one of the go to guys and goal leaders on the Kings at 23 goals. Most of these goals have been been converted on the power play as he leads the Kings in power play goals.
This is a major strength of the Wild as they rank #1 in power play killing at 86.9%. Something has to give as Gaborik has really been playing well as of late with 6 goals and 3 assists in his last 13 games. Gaborik is a point per game player as he had missed some action due to injury. I expect him to be heavily involved on the offensive end.
The Kings made it a clean sweep of the New York teams with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers and most recently, a 3-2 win over the Islanders. A major reason for this is leading scorer, Anze Kopitar. Kopitar picked up 2 assists against the Blueshirts and a goal against the Islanders. Kopitar is also a +3 in both of these games. Expect Kopitar to be a major factor in this game if Los Angeles is to keep their winning streak going.
One Man Show
On a team with such great goaltending, they don't need a ton of offense, but the Wild's leading scorer, Zach Parise has been on fire as of late. Parise is coming off of 2 straight games with a goal and has 5 goals and 7 assists in his last 13 games. Parise is also putting a ton of pressure on the opposing goalie as he has 12 shots on goal in his last 2 games alone.
As I stated earlier, something has to give and I think that the Wild are the more balanced team and I love the way that Parise has been playing as of late. One or two goals will be the difference-maker for this NHL picks.
NHL Pick- Minnesota +106 at Pinnacle