NHL Picks: Kings vs. Panthers Betting Preview

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:08 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Kings take on the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida with faceoff scheduled for 3:05 PM ET.

NHL Preview

According to current NHL betting odds the Kings are a -140 money line road favorite and the total is 5.5. This will be the first of 2 meetings between these clubs this season. They won’t meet again until March 22nd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

Kings Finding their Footing 

The Kings have won their last 2 games to improve to 3-2 on the season. The Kings opened a 4-game road trip on Friday night with a 2-1 win at Carolina in a shootout. It was a defensive battle as the game was scoreless for the first 53 minutes before the teams exchanged goals 40-seconds apart. Jeff Carter was then able to beat Cam Ward in the shootout for the winner. Carter leads the Kings with 4 goals in the first 5 games of the season. Los Angeles has yet to win a game in regulation this season. Their effort level was super on Friday night as they outshot the Hurricanes 37-28. Jonathan Quick stopped 27 of 28 shots in the game which may have been his best performance of the season. Quick has had a tough start to the year by his standards posting a 2.64 GAA and just a .905 save percentage. The Kings power play has clicked nicely to start the year going 6 for 19 (31.6%). 

Panthers Delight Fans in Home Opener 

The Florida Panthers finally played their home opener on Friday night after opening the season with 4 games on the road. They didn’t disappoint the sellout crowd as they shocked the Pittsburgh Penguins as a +160 money line underdog 6-3 for our NHL picks. The win broke a Panthers 3-game losing streak. Brad Boyes contributed 2 goals while Thomas Fleischmann added 3 assists. Boyes leads the Panthers with 4 goals this season while Fleischmann is the leading scorer with 5 points with all of them coming on assists. The Panthers received a solid performance in goal from Jacob Markstrom who turned away 36 of 39 Penguins shots. The performance was in stark contrast to the night before when Markstrom was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 17 shots in the Panthers 7-2 loss at Tampa Bay. The veteran Tim Thomas remains questionable for today’s game as he’s been sidelined with a groin injury. The Panther did manage to go 2 for 4 on the power play versus Pittsburgh. That was a very encouraging sign considering they were a dismal 1 for 21 in their first 4 games. Their penalty killing has been solid as they’ve killed off 17 of the 20 power plays by the opposition. 

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Final Analysis

When the season is said and done the Kings will clearly be head and shoulders above the Panthers in the standings. However right now they’re playing inconsistent at best and certainly not well enough to put teams away. Although Jonathan Quick turned in a dandy on Friday he’s yet to put together 2 solid games in a row this season. The question is what Panthers team will show up today? Will it be the one who looked so good in their season opening 4-1 win at Dallas, or the one that was so impressive 2 nights ago, or could it be the team that was shellacked on the road 7-0 at St. Louis, and 7-2 at Tampa Bay? My intuition says this is a good spot for the home underdog. NHL history supports my feeling. Since the start of the 1996-1997 year any team that scored 6 or more goals in their previous game versus an opponent coming off a 1-goal win is 30-14 (68.2%).

Free Pick: Panthers +120 over the Kings