A couple of familiar NHL foes will go to battle tonight when Chicago visit Los Angeles. We have all the pertinent NHL handicapping details in this preview, and it concludes with a money line NHL pick.
Revisiting the 2014 Western Conference Final
The Los Angeles Kings will host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at 10:35 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at Bookmaker, Chicago is a -110 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. These teams have met one time this season, and Chicago came away with a 4-1 win at Los Angeles. This will also be a rematch of last season’s thrilling 7-game Western Conference Final. The Kings prevailed in that series by scoring an overtime winning goal in game seven, on their way to capturing their second Stanley Cup over a three year period.
The Chicago Blackhawks enter tonight’s game having won eleven of their previous fifteen on the road. Cory Crawford is scheduled to get the start in goal tonight for Chicago. Crawford has gone a stellar 10-5 in his fifteen starts on the road this season, and compiled a superb .931 save percentage while doing so. The Blackhawks have been a quick starting team this season, outscoring their opponents by a cumulative 52-39 in the first period. They’ll certainly look to expose a Kings team which has been outscored 43-35 during the opening stanza of games this season.
Struggling Defending Champions
If the season were to end today, the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings would fail to qualify for the playoffs. Kings backers are certainly not in a panic mode. After all, they’ve witnessed their team display a tendency to coast through the past three regular seasons, and then have an innate ability to ratchet up their performance level during the postseason. However, this time around has a bit of a different feel to it. They were able to compensate for their poor play on the road this season by winning with regularity at home. Well that’s also been an issue of late. The Kings have lost six of their last seven games at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They enter tonight riding a four game losing streak overall, in addition to dropping seven of their last eight, and nine of the previous eleven games. Rubbing additional salt into an already open wound is the fact that goaltending stalwart Jonathan Quick has struggled mightily in recent weeks. Quick has lost in his previous six starts, and fallen in eight of the past nine.
Sometimes it’s just best to keep things simple. Chicago has been extremely profitable on the road for a long stretch now. The Kings on the other hand, aren’t only struggling during the past few weeks, but now they’ve managed to lose their swagger at home. My lean is toward the road team in this game, and that’s the way I’ll be headed when making one of my NHL picks for today.