The Predators have been on a horrible run, so getting a win in Los Angeles tonight would provide a huge boost in spirits. Let's examine the NHL odds for this Western Conference clash.
NHL Odds have the Kings favored at right around -155, with the Predators available for action at +135 or so.
The O/U for tonight's game is at five goals, as both teams are ranked in top seven in fewest goals allowed per game. Meanwhile, the Predators and Kings are ranked 13th and 17th on the other end of the ice in terms of goals scored a game.
Los Angeles Kings
Rewind back to February 5th and the Kings were 21-18-12, but they've since been playing some tremendous hockey. They've won four of their last five games and are 12-3-1 over their last 16 games overall. They're at 33-21-13 for the season now, which has them in eighth place in the Western Conference with a total of 79 points.
L.A's latest two wins have been dominant. The Kings went into Colorado and won 5-2 and then a couple days later they over-ran Vancouver in a 4-0 shutout victory. Jonathan Quick picked up a win in each game and now sports a 29-17-11 record with a 2.32 GAA and .914 SV%. By no means has it been Quick's best season, but he seems to have turned things around lately and that's certainly helped the Kings' cause.
Elsewhere on the ice, a lot of production has come from Jeff Carter (18 points), Anze Kopitar (15) and Tyler Toffoli (14) since the All-Star break, but it's truly been a balanced effort. Six other skaters have posted at least 10 points over the second half of the season, and that kind of depth has been key to LA's success in recent weeks. The Kings, who are an excellent 21-7-7 at home this season, will be looking for another all-around good effort tonight against the struggling Predators.
What on earth has happened to the Predators? Not long ago they were tearing the NHL up and pulling away from the pack atop the Western Conference. Now they're tied on 91 points alongside St. Louis and Anaheim, having lost seven of their last eight games to fall to 42-20-7. It's still been a terrific season for Nashville overall, but this collapse over the last couple of weeks has to be worrying for all those involved with the team.
We last saw the Predators in action on Thursday in a 2-0 road loss to San Jose. Despite outshooting the Sharks 35-21 and getting a couple powerplay opportunities in the third period, they weren't able to find a way past Antti Niemi. An offense that has had quite a bit of success this season has gone ice cold, scoring a grand total of two goals over their last three games.
If Nashville's to break out of this slump, it's likely going to be because of guys like Mike Ribeiro, Filip Forsberg and then the top defensive duo of Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Pekka Rinne hasn't been nearly as effective in goal lately, so he'll need to get his act together too, sooner rather than later.
As bad as the Preds have been, we've seen what they can do when on their game and we do expect a competitive effort from this group tonight. Getting to back a team as talented as Nashville at this kind of price is very appealing.
So, with Nashville desperate to right the ship and find their groove again, we're going to back the road team at a nice dog price. The Preds have beaten the Kings in both regular season meetings this season and we're forecasting another victory tonight.
With your NHL picks, take a chance on Nashville.
Free NHL Pick: Nashville Predators +135 at BookMaker