NHL Picks: Stick To The Ducks In Cross-Town Rivery Against Kings

Dana Lane

Sunday, February 28, 2016 4:26 PM GMT

This is the game the Ducks have been focused on for a while now as they get the Kings, at home, in an attempt to move closer to the Pacific Division lead. See my top NHL pick for this game. 

Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks
Both teams are heading for this showdown playing great hockey but I'm not happy with the way the Kings 1st line has been playing led by Milan Lucic.

Lucic has failed to get a point in six straight games and hasn't scored a goal in seven. Lucic has never been a guy who will score in bunches. He gets most of his goals from dirty work around the net. So when he doesn't score for that long I question how hard he's working. I'm a huge fan of his but seems to be non-existent lately.  

With Lucic off his game it has slowed down Anze Kopitar who only has 2 points in his last five games including a minus -1 in that time. Kopitar has been battling a lower body injury which caused him to miss the Nashville game, a game the Kings won 2-1 in overtime but struggled to get quality scoring chances. They only managed four first period shots with Kopitar out so obviously there is an adjustment period with Anze out of the line-up. He came back to play only 19 minutes against Calgary, another 2-1 game. That was followed up by an uninspired effort against Edmonton where he played more but didn't find the score sheet. It leads me to question if he's 100%.

 

Betting Analysis
Dustin Brown hasn't scored a goal in nine games. I think Brown is a good player but not a first liner. Brown seems more concerned with making the big hit than he maintaining proper positioning.  

Their lack of production has hurt the first and second line power play units. 

Keep an eye on the NHL odds boards as no goaltender has been named for the Ducks yet but if it's John Gibson, based on the fact that Frederik Andersen played Friday against Edmonton, he is 2-0, with a 1.88 goals against average, and a .919 save percentage. If Andersen starts he has been even better. Anderson is 2-0 with a 0.50 goals against average and a .977 save percentage. I'm guessing it will be Andersen to start. 

In front of either of them will be two defensive pairings that are playing outstanding hockey. They have done a great job of insuring that both goaltenders face a low amount of shots. Hampus Lindholm has a great combination of size and skating ability. Lindholm now has three points in his last three games. 

Sami Vatenen has been fantastic this season even though he's a bit undersized. He is very accurate from the point and is a gifted offensive player.

The Ducks have been an impressive 35-16 against the Pacific division this season. I am sticking with the Ducks as my NHL pick because the Kings are not operating at 100% while facing an impressive Ducks defense. Be sure to cash in on SBR's top value picks for Sunday night's games

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NHL Pick: Anaheim Ducks -130
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes