NHL Picks: Blackhawks vs. Kings

David Lawrence

Saturday, January 19, 2013 2:15 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 2:15 PM UTC

The Los Angeles Kings begin their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions on Saturday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. But which side of the NHL odds should we be on for our hockey picks?

NHL Betting: Blackhawks vs. Kings

The Blackhawks, who won the Cup three years ago, would love nothing more than to prove that they are back in the mix in 2013 by measuring themselves up against the current champs.

The Kings kicked it up a notch in the playoffs last year but they struggled in the regular season. We’re not quite sure what to expect of them just yet as they start the 2013 shortened season.

Record: 0-0

The Chicago Blackhawks can win because…

The Kings are a question mark. Sure, they played great in a condensed period of time in the playoffs but they were wildly inconsistent in the regular season. After all, they barely even qualified for the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the West.

The Chicago Blackhawks were beaten up in the 2011-12 season as they suffered through a slew of injuries throughout the campaign. The good news is that they are healthy and they now boast one of the best offenses in the NHL. With a healthy Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, there is no reason why this team shouldn’t be top-five in scoring and great to tail for your NHL picks.

Look for the Blackhawks to be motivated in this game now that everyone is healthy. They have two solid lines to roll offense and the Kings – who are without Anze Kopitar – won’t be able to match.

The Los Angeles Kings can win because…

The Blackhawks simply don’t have the same type of goaltending. While the Kings have the luxury of having one of the best goaltenders in the NHL in Jonathan Quick, the Blackhawks are stuck with Corey Crawford, who failed to post a shutout in 57 appearances last season. Crawford struggled on the road and too many times allowed soft goals.

The Kings have returned their 2012 Cup winning roster intact and the two most important inclusions should be head coach Darryl Sutter, who came in midseason and sparked the team, and center Jeff Carter. With Carter on board, the Kings went from being a sluggish offensive team to one of the most effective. With him, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown and others, the Kings were unstoppable in the postseason. The Blackhawks blue line is a big question mark and the Kings should be able to take advantage.

With Los Angeles raising the banner for their impressive Cup win last year, look for them to put forth an inspired effort in front of their home fans on Saturday. They’ve won three straight in this series and should make it four on Saturday.

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Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Kings should be fired up but the Blackhawks should be equally up for this game to measure themselves against the champs. While the Blackhawks have the better offense, they also have the worse defense, which the Kings should expose.

I see five as being too low of a total for this game as the Kings can score and so will the Blackhawks. If there were two good goaltenders in this game I would understand but with just one, five seems too low. Take the over.

NHL Picks: Kings and Blackhawks Over 5 at Bodog

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