The Kings might have caught the Islanders at the right time. The defending NHL Stanley Cup Champions are 1 point out of 8th place but can L.A. pull off the upset? See who we like as our NHL pick.
Face-off is set for 7:00 pm ET tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island (NY). According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook, the Kings are getting major respect as the Isles are just a -115 betting favorite and the total for the game is 5 goals. The Kings have been playing well at 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and are coming off of a win over the New York Rangers. This might explain the NHL betting odds.
Who's In Net?
We take a look at the starting goalie position and it's unconfirmed as of now, but it appears that we'll see a matchup between Jaroslav Halak for New York and Jonathan Quick for Los Angeles.
At 32-19-12 with a 2.26 GAA. Quick has had a fairly good season for the Kings after winning the Stanley Cup and now it's time to turn on the after burners as the playoffs are in sight.
Quick is seeing a ton of action. He's virtually the Kings only goalie and for the month of March, is playing like a champion at 7-3-2 with a 1.85 GAA. He's coming off of a 4-2 victory against a team in the Rangers that he knows all too well and should definitely be ready for a matchup against the slumping Islanders.
Although he hasn't been getting a ton of goal support lately, Halak has been solid between the pipes as he's allowed just 5 goals in his last 4 games. This game will come down to the effectiveness of the Islanders offense because Quick is one of the most clutch goalies in the NHL.
One Man Wrecking Crew
The Islanders would be nowhere without center John Tavares. Tavares is and up and comer and one of the best players in the game. For the season, he has 34 goals and 40 assists and in the month of March, Tavares has 4 goals and 5 assists in 10 games. He's coming off of a 2-1 loss in overtime to the Minnesota Wild in which he scored the lone goal for the Isles while peppering the opposing goalie with 8 shots on goal.
Tavares plays exceptionally well at home, scoring a point per game, is a power play specialist, and has 7 game winning goals on the season. Although the Islanders haven't been playing well, Jonathan Quick will need to be focused on #91 and how he can change the complexion of a game.
The Islanders defense has been spotty, but they do average 3 goals per game, which is good for 4th in the NHL.
A Run For the Cup
For the Kings, they have two of their 3 best players in Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik coming off of big games in the win over their nemesis, the New York Rangers.
Kopitar, who leads the Kings in points, continued his barrage of assists with another 2 to add to his team leading 44. Gaborik was the 2nd star player of the game as he scored his 23rd goal of the season. Gaborik has been finding the back of the net often lately as he has 6 goals and 3 assists in his last 12 games. In his last 3 games, he has 2 goals and 2 assists and will be a key player on the offense with his ability to excel on the power play.
The Kings are the NHL pick here as they defeated a very good Rangers team and now make the short trip to face an Islanders team that has been "stuck in the muck", so to speak. Look for L.A. to make their playoff run behind the clutch goaltending of Jonathan Quick.
NHL Pick- Los Angeles +105 at 5Dimes