The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings would miss the playoffs if they started on Tuesday night. With three games left, the Kings might need to win them all to get in. They are huge -284 favorites on NHL odds at Edmonton on Tuesday.
Oilers Better Off Losing Out
It's yet another lost season in Edmonton, which I find moderately surprising considering how much good young talent there is on that roster. The Oilers are going to get another high draft pick as they have only 59 points, which is the third-fewest in the NHL. It's still possible the team could get as high as the second-worst record as Arizona currently has 56 points. The worse the better because it's crucial to get a top-two pick this summer in a draft that has two franchise-caliber players in Connor McDavid (who will be the No. 1 overall pick) and Jack Eichel. After that, there's a giant drop-off. That's why I don't expect Buffalo to get a point the rest of this week as the Sabres have the fewest points with 54 and that would guarantee the Sabres no worse than the No. 2 overall pick.
Edmonton appears in full tank mode on a three-game losing streak. And they haven't been close: a 5-1 loss in Anaheim last Wednesday, 8-2 embarrassment at these Kings last Thursday and 4-0 defeat at home to Calgary on Saturday. Ben Scrivens has been the starter in all three games, allowing 14 of those goals. He's not having a good season, going 15-26-10 with a 3.11 goals-against average and .892 save percentage. The Oilers need to find a true No. 1 goalie somewhere this offseason. Well, actually it appears they had one in Devan Dubnyk but traded him in mid-January 2014 to Nashville. Dubnyk is now standing on his head in Minnesota. With how bad Scrivens has been of late, you could see backup goalie Richard Bachman in this one. He's 2-2- with a 3.04 GAA and .908 save percentage. Coach Todd Nelson indicated Monday that he is "leaning" toward starting Bachman. He temporarily left the team following the sudden death of his brother.
The Oilers are 14-22-1-2 at home this season and 18-20-1 'over/under' on NHL betting odds there.
Kings Can't Afford Slip Up Here
Los Angeles has 93 points, which is tied with Calgary for third in the Pacific Division but the Kings lose that tiebreaker. That total is one point behind Winnipeg, which holds the second and final wild-card spot in the West. The Kings, Flames and Jets all have three games left. The Kings only hold the tiebreaker against the Jets. After this game, the Kings visit Calgary and close the season Saturday at home vs. San Jose. The Flames host Arizona on Tuesday, the Kings on Thursday and then visit Winnipeg on Saturday. The Jets are in St. Louis on Tuesday, at Colorado on Thursday and then finish vs. the Flames.
The Kings had a two-game winning streak snapped Monday night in a 2-1 shootout loss in Vancouver. That all but locks up second place in the Pacific for the Canucks. Dwight King had the lone goal for L.A. and Jonathan Quick finished with 37 saves. Even though this is the second of a back-to-back, expect Quick back in there. At this time of season, you don't worry about getting someone rest. If the Kings miss the playoffs they can point to a shockingly bad 3-15 in mark in games that go to at least overtime.
L.A. is 15-16-3-5 on the road and 16-12-11 'over/under' there at sportsbooks.
This "rivalry" has been anything but as the Kings are a crazy 19-1-7 in the past 27 meetings and 11-0-3 in Edmonton over that span. The Oilers do have one shootout win vs. the Kings this season, 3-2 at home on Dec. 30. But the three Kings wins have been routs: 6-1 in Los Angeles on Oct. 14, 5-2 in Edmonton on March 3 and that 8-2 home victory last Thursday. Anze Kopitar leads Kings players with seven points this season vs. the Oilers, while Jeff Carter is tops in goals with four. Quick has started all four games with a 1.71 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Teddy Purcell and Matt Hendricks lead the Oilers with two goals each against L.A. Bachman hasn't faced the Kings this season. Scrivens is 1-2-0 with a 4.30 GAA and .856 save percentage.
NHL Free Picks: Pretty rare you will see such a huge road favorite. Thus I don't think that's great value but the Kings at +130 on the goal line is. Go 'under' the 5.5 goals total with your NHL picks as Quick probably shuts out the Oilers. The 'under' is 10-2-2 in the past 14 meetings in Edmonton.