The Kings travel to St. Louis tonight after a thrilling victory over the Blackhawks while the Blues attempt to snap a two-game skid. Let our NHL betting preview help you decide where you should place your sports picks in this matchup.
Swinging Johnson - NHL Record (5-4, +3.40 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
When last I dipped my toes into the chilly waters of the National Hockey League, I came up with the Carolina Hurricanes to prevail over the visiting New Jersey Devils last week. Those waters turned downright icy when Martin Brodeur showed absolutely no signs of rust after returning from a month long sabbatical due to a pinched nerve in his neck. Not only did he make 17 saves and notch a 4-1 victory for the Devils, he even got credit for a power play goal! That's when you know, it's going bad.
LA Kings (18-12-2)
I still can't get over the fact that the Los Angeles Kings won the Cup. I know that's ancient history at this point but it still boggles my mind. Are they, or should I say were they, really that good? This year the verdict is still out on whether or not this team is equipped to make another deep run in the postseason. They are currently the 6th seed in the Western Conference and have gotten effective production from their offense, currently ranked 7th in the league, while their starting netminder Jonathan Quick has been somewhat erratic this season, but still retains the title for single-best goalie name ever.
Quick has gotten the hook a few times this season and it seems to me that young Jonathan Bernier should be the go-to guy in net for the Kings. Bernier has compiled a 7-2 record with a 1.94 GAA and a .923 save percentage. But I'm not the coach and as of this writing it appears as though Quick will once again get the start despite allowing four goals on Monday night to the Blackhawks, a game in which the Kings ultimately secured the victory 5-4.
St. Louis Blues (17-13-2)
The Blues are nipping at the heels of the Kings, only two points behind them and jockeying for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Even in this strike-shortened season it seems like forever ago that the Blues broke out of the gates with six victories in their first seven games. But since then the Blues have played a click below .500 and have dropped three of their last four.
St. Louis was enjoying the home cooking up until their last game at the Scottrade Center when they blasted away 43 times against Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin but still came up empty in a 3-0 blanking at the hands of the Oilers. Blues goalie Jake Allen was chased after giving up three goals on seven shots before Jaroslav Halak stepped in and shut the door the rest of the way.
Perhaps the best thing you can say about the Blues this season is that their power play has been effective, clicking 22.1 percent of the time while their penalty killing unit has been pedestrian at best, ranked 15th in the league, holding the opponent scoreless 81.5 percent of the time when disadvantaged.
Other than the home ice advantage the Blues will enjoy, there is no reason to place your NHL picks in favor of the Blues over the Kings tonight. LA has defeated St. Louis both home and away in their previous matchups this year, with their most recent victory being a 6-4 decision in Los Angeles on March 5th. While Jonathan Quick hasn't been a house-on-fire recently, he certainly has been a brick wall when he suits up against the Blues. He has a stellar 1.04 GAA and a 7-1 record against St. Louis during the regular season and playoffs combined.
Though the Blues have been putting plenty of rubber on the net recently, I can't help but think that the Kings are more the more explosive of the two teams and have a goaltender that thrives against them. I'm surprised to see the Kings as the underdog here in our NHL betting odds but it just makes this opportunity even more tantalizing.
Free NHL Picks: Play the LA Kings +115 for 4 units.Check out our NHL Picks of the Day for more free plays.