The Kings find themselves in a must win situations if they are to defend their Stanley Cup Championships. The Kings face a tough matchup against the defensive-minded Chicago Blackhawks tonight.
Face-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm ET at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NHL odds makers know the importance of this game to the Kings also as the Blackhawks are just a -115 betting favorite at home and the total for the game is listed at 5 goals.
Although unconfirmed as of yet, one can only assume that we see Corey Crawford in net for the Blackhawks and Jonathan Quick between the pipes for the Kings. Normally, the Blackhawks would have the decisive advantage, but it's due or die time for the Kings.
Crawford got a much needed victory against the Winnipeg Jets in his last game, 4-3, swiping aside 31 out of 34 shots. This was an important victory for Crawford as he had been suffering through a minor slump. in the month of March, Crawford is 7-3-1 with a 2.32 GAA.
Jonathan Quick can't feel good about his last start after allowing 2 goals on 9 shots and being pulled in a loss to Minnesota. Quick had been carrying a heavy workload and he really doesn't have much relief. He's a big game goalie and tonight, he'll have a chance to prove himself once again.
Kings leading scorer, Anze Kopitar, is coming up big at the right time of the season for L,A. He leads the Kings with 16 goals and 44 assists on the season. Lately, Kopitar has been involved in on a ton of the Kings goals. In his 14 games, Kopitar is producing a point per game at 4 goals and 11 assists. I expect Kopitar to be a factor in this game along with teammate Jeff Carter.
Carter has 8 goals and 2 assists in his last 14 games and has scored a point in each of his last 3 games.Carter has also faired well against the Blackhawks with 2 goals and 1 assist in 2 previous meetings with the Blackhawks.
Quick will need to get his confidence back in a hurry as he faces the 1-2 punch of Patrick Sharp (27 goals 37 assists) and Jonathan Toews (25 goals, 37 assists). Good things happen when Toews is on the ice as he possesses a team high +27 ratio and nobody on the Blackhawks roster even comes close to him.
Toews just passed the 500 point mark for his career and it didn't take long for him to get there. He is also coming of back to back games with a goal and has 6 goals and 6 assists in his last 12 gmes.This is definitely a player that a fantasy leaguer wants to roster on his team and we don't know how Quick will react to getting taken out early in his last game,
As for Kane, he leads the Blackhawks in all key statistical offensive categories and has played Los Angeles well with 1 goal and 1 assists in 2 games this season.
My gut says the take the Kings due to the urgency of the game, but I don't feel confident with Quick in net after getting pulled Take the Blackhawks as your NHL pick at the this affordable price.
NHL Pick- Blackhawks at 5Dimes