NHL Picks: Finding Value on the Kings Puck Line Against Avalanche

David Lawrence

Sunday, October 18, 2015 4:13 PM GMT

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 4:13 PM GMT

The LA Kings finally broke through with their first win of the season when they beat the Wild 2-1 in overtime. Now they will try to carry over the momentum against Colorado on Sunday.

Momentum
The Avalanche blew a three-goal third period lead in a 5-4 loss to Minnesota to begin the season but followed it up with a 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars. Then after a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins came a 3-0 win over Anaheim. If that trend continues then Colorado could be in tough against Los Angeles in the second of back-to-back games in California but they certainly looked good against the Ducks on Friday night. The Avalanche have the talent and depth at all three levels to be a contender in the Western Conference this season but consistency will be the key and they can really generate some momentum with a win over the Kings before heading back home.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is looking to salvage two more points from a five-game home stand that began with three straight losses and that will mean playing a similar style to the one they played in their win over Minnesota. The Kings have the big bodies to bump and grind with the best of them and they are at their best when they are shutting down the opponent’s attack and capitalizing on their scoring chances the other way. 

 

Projected Starting Goalies
Jonathan Quick has started all four games for Los Angeles and there is a good chance they go back to him in this one after his numbers have improved in every single start. He’s allowed just three goals on 51 shots over his last two games after coughing up nine goals on his first 54 shots this season. The Kings need Quick to play at a Vezina level the way he has in the past when he led them to Stanley Cups and they know he is fully capable of doing so.

Meanwhile, the Avalanche could very well turn back to Reto Berra after he stopped all 35 shots he faced in the shutout win over Anaheim on Friday as the Avs cashed on the NHL odds. Semyon Varlamov is 1-2-0 with a 5.07 GAA and .841 save percentage to open the season and it will be very interesting to see if Patrick Roy rides the hot hand or goes back to his No. 1. 

 

What’s The Pick?
Los Angeles got back to its strengths against Minnesota, limiting the Wild to 26 shots and grinding out a physical game that was tied 1-1 heading in to the extra period. Next up for the Kings is a Colorado Avalanche team that has also struggled with consistency early on but should be feeling confident after a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. 

It took a while for the Kings to finally get that first win of the season and while they managed to secure an important two points against the Wild they aren’t out of the woods just yet. Los Angeles will be playing with a heightened sense of urgency and if they play the way they did against Minnesota they should be able to at least slow down the Avalanche attack enough to get the job done. Colorado has alternated between wins and losses in each of its first four games and with the Kings already in a desperate spot early on we expect that trend will continue. The juice is too high, though, so take the Kings on the puck line for your NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Los Angeles -1.5 (-178)  at 5Dimes

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