The Los Angeles
Kings Can Win Because…
They’ve already won twice in Anaheim. They took the first two contests on the Duck Pond, muzzling the Ducks best offensive weapons while finding ways to score enough goals. That changed at home – for whatever reason – but now that they’re back on the road, they should regain that mojo. The Kings are 5-4 in their last nine visits to Anaheim, so it’s clearly a place where they are comfortable playing.
The Kings benched Jonathan Quick in Game 4 but look for a bounce-back effort from him. He’s one of the league’s best goaltenders and the team should rally around him in Game 5.
The Anaheim Ducks Can
The goaltending switch has provided a catalyst. It’s pretty clear that the team has lost faith in Jonas Hiller. That’s why he was benched in Game 3 for Fredrik Andersen and that’s why he was benched in Game 4 for John Gibson (since Andersen was injured in Game 3).
The Ducks confidence is directly tied to goaltending – as is the case for most teams. With Hiller between the pipes, the team plays nervous because they feel like any mistake will end up in the back of their nets. With Gibson, the team played far more confidently.
Beyond that, the Ducks top guns have gotten going in the last couple of games as Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have combined for five points in the last two games. If they keep this up, they’ll get their first lead of the series.
Outlook & Pick
I’m expecting a bounce-back game from Quick and the Kings. I look for them to rally around the benching of Quick, who was really only benched in an attempt to spark the team.
I still see the Kings as having the edge on the blue line and in net. They just need a little bit more help from their offense. Take the Kings with your NHL picks as they should have a strong effort in Game 5.
NHL Pick: Kings +110 at 5Dimes