NHL Picks: Back Scoring Stars When Hitting The Road To Visit Kings

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, April 2, 2016 11:46 AM GMT

WC powers face off in Los Angeles this afternoon as the Central Division's top team Dallas takes on the Pacific leading Kings. Let's discuss the NHL odds and cash a ticket in today's pivotal matchup.

Dallas Stars (47-31 SU, +5.2 units)
The Dallas Stars have not accumulated the Western Conference's best regular season record by accident. Consider that they lost one of the best young talents in the game in Tyler Seguin to an Achilles injury after their 4-3 win over the Lightning on March 17th and all they have done since is win five of their last six. Seguin remains the team's second leading goal scorer and point-getter behind only Jamie Benn. Speaking of Benn, the 26-year-old winger plucked by Dallas in the fifth-round of the '07 draft, is having another dazzling campaign with 40 goals and 47 assists for 87 points.

 

Offense has been the key to Dallas's success this season as they rank tops in the league in scoring, averaging 3.3 goals per game, with a power play that is connecting on 22 percent of their man-advantaged opportunities which ranks them 4th in the league in that category. Their defense has been somewhat suspect allowing 2.8 goals per game which places them 20th. Putting aside their loss to the Coyotes, the team has averaged 4.33 goals per game in their six wins over the course of their last seven outings. The Stars avenged that loss from last week in their last performance on Thursday night with a 4-1 victory over those same Arizona Coyotes.

 

LA Kings (46-31 SU, -1.4 units)
Like their guests this afternoon, the Kings have a rather tenuous grip on their division lead. Los Angles leads second place Anaheim by only one point with five games remaining on the regular season docket. Had they been in the Central Division, instead of the Pacific, Dallas would be battling Chicago for third place with 97 points. LA desperately needs a win in order to stay in front of the Ducks who have won the division the last three years running.

LA is staggering down the stretch as losers of four of their last six. But fortunately for them, and those who backed them in their NHL picks on Thursday night, their last outing was a successful one as they doused the Flames 3-0 as -275 home favorites. Goaltender Jonathan Quick turned aside all 21 shots he faced and recorded his fifth shutout of the season and the 42nd of his career, extending his record for most shutouts by an American born goalie. Jeff Carter notched his 21st and 22nd goals of the season in the win over Calgary.

 

Betting Analysis
The Kings have won home and away against the Dallas Stars this season by the scores of 3-2 and 5-2 respectively. Dallas is 21-18 on the road while LA is 25-13 at home. Jonathan Quick, who been ridden like a rented mule with 64 starts under his belt, is projected to be tending the twine yet again for LA while Kari Lehtonen is the most likely candidate to be in net for the Stars.

Though defense is the hallmark for the Kings it has been the chink in the armor for Dallas. However, the Stars have been playing tight in front of the net and in their own zone recently, allowing just 10 goals over their last six games which works out to 1.66 goals allowed per game.

Dallas scores in bunches and just when will Quick finally begin to feel the effects of such a heavy workload? He has started in the Kings' last eight games and 13 of their last 14. That may play a role against a high flying, white hot team like the Stars this afternoon who need the game just as badly as does Los Angeles.

These are two very evenly matched teams. Whatever advantage LA has on defense the Stars more than make up for it on offense. Sure, the venue favors the Kings and they beat Dallas here in January in their only meeting in LA this season by the score of 3-2 but over the last four meetings at the Staples Center the teams are even at two games apiece.

Perhaps the tipping point for me is the number being hung on this game. I don't see LA favored as high as a -155 favorite here despite the absence of Tyler Seguin. Let's face it, the Stars have been on a roll while the Kings have lost four of their last six, so why the love for LA?

I believe this line is simply too high and if there was not so much value on Dallas here this is a game I would pass because it is simply more of a coin flip as to who wins rather than one team owning a decisive advantage over the other. The NHL odds makers are giving me too healthy a return to ignore the rolling road dog here.

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Free NHL Pick: Dallas +134
Best Line Offered: at Heritage