The problem for the Kings is that they lost both games and goaltender Jonathan Quick has let in a soft game-winning goal both times. Can he toughen up the defense for our NHL Picks?
Now the reigning champs face an 0-2 with plenty of pressure as they return home. Can they get back into the series?
The St. Louis Blues can win because…
They have gotten the job done twice. The playoffs are all about execution and while the Blues haven’t made it look pretty, they have edge the Kings twice now and hold a 2-0 series lead. Their offense has been slightly better than the Kings, their physicality has been slightly superior and Brian Elliott has outplayed Jonathan Quick. The latter point is somewhat surprising as Quick was the Kings rock last season. Now he’s cost them two wins.
The NHL odds favor the Kings to get on the board here but why buck the trend? The Blues are calm and confident. Don’t be surprised if they edge the Kings 2-1 again.
The Los Angeles Kings can win because…
Urgency will be on their side. The Kings have been close in both games so far but that extra ounce of urgency has been on St. Louis’ side. Now the Kings will be fueled by that desperation and that should put them over the top.
Quick is an awesome goaltender and doesn’t usually let in softies like he did in Games 1 and 2. Playing at home in front of the home audience should make the difference. He had a 1.79 GAA and a .917 save percentage at the Staples Center compared to a 3.11 GAA and a .891 save percentage on the road. Look for him to be shaper and the Kings to come out on top.
Outlook & Pick
The Kings will pull out all the stops in Game 3 because they don’t want to fall into an 0-3 deficit. However, must win doesn’t mean will win. The Kings should win but don’t assume anything.
The trend in this series has been unders and I think that’s the play that makes most sense here again for my NHL picks. Quick will be sharper and both teams will continue having a tough time scoring.
FreePick: Under 5 at Bodog