NHL Picks: Canucks vs. Kings

David Schwab

Monday, January 28, 2013 4:44 PM GMT

Where are we looking for value in tonight's matchup between the Vancouver Canucks and the Los Angeles Kings? While the money line seems to be getting most of the action, we believe a pick on the total is your best bet.

In a showdown between two of the top teams in the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks pay a visit to the Staples Center this Monday night to square off against the Los Angeles Kings. The game is set to get underway at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast on TSN.

Canucks Overview

It has not been the start that many fan’s expected for a Vancouver Canucks with such high aspirations this season. Sunday night’s 4-1 loss to San Jose as 108 road underdogs dropped the Canucks to 2-3 overall and 1-1 on the road in the midst of a three-game trip. They have only been outscored 16-14 overall in their first five games but have given-up three of more goals in three of those contests.

Daniel Sedin is off to a solid start with two goals and four assists and while his brother Henrik has matched his assist total, he is still looking for his first goal of the new season. Both Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian have tallied three goals and defenseman Alexander Edler has added two goals and two assists. The real question mark so far has been the play of Cory Schneider in goal. He has a save percentage of .897 and a 3.13 goals against average in four games. Schneider did stop all 30 shots he faced in a 5-0 shutout against Anaheim last Friday, which is a good sign that he is returning to form.

Kings Overview

Los Angeles’ defense of its Stanley Cup title got off to a shaky start with three-straight losses. It snapped the early skid with a 4-2 victory over Phoenix on Saturday night as a 125 favorite on the road. The Kings were outscored 10-4 in those first three games but looked much more like last year’s squad against the Coyotes. The total has been evenly split at 2-2 with the line set at five for all four games.

Last season’s Stanley Cup MVP Jonathan Quick has also displayed some early rust as a result of the longer than expected layoff with a GAA of 3.00 and a .904 save percentage. He stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced against Phoenix which bodes well for another solid performance in this contest. Anze Kopitar was shutout in his first three games but ended that drought with two second-period goals on Sunday night. Kyle Clifford leads the Kings in scoring with one goal and four assists and Jeff Carter has also posted two goals on the year.

Canucks vs. Kings Betting Lines and Trends

The NHL Odds makers first opened with LA favored at the price of -135, but that number has now fallen to -130 at many betting shops. While the money line has seen some movement, the game's total has held firm at 5.

[gameodds]7/218172/43/us[/gameodds]

The Canucks are 23-9 in their last 32 games playing on no day’s rest but 2-6 in their last eight games against the Pacific Division. The total has stayed under in 10 of their last 16 road games.

The Kings are 13-6 in their last 19 games at home and 20-7 in their last 27 games following a win. The total has stayed under in five of their last seven games at home.

Head-to-head in this matchup, the road team has won four of the last five meetings and the total has stayed under in four of the last six games played in Los Angeles.

Canucks vs. Kings Game Prediction

Both teams are still working towards returning to championship form but taking steps in the right direction. In a battle between two of the top teams in the West, defer to the goalies this time around as they both tighten things up to keep the total below five goals

NHL Picks: Vancouver vs. Los Angeles- UNDER 5

Year-to-Date NHL Record: 6-1