The Vancouver Canucks host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night and while they have the home-ice advantage, they are actually the dog on the NHL betting lines. The Kings really need this one but will they be able to pull out a win on the west coast in Canada?
The Los Angeles Kings Can Win Because…
They’ve been playing some of their best hockey over the last month. Although it seems like a forgotten fact, remember, the Kings are still the defending Stanley Cup champs. Up until March, they hadn’t really looked like it but they’ve picked up the pace of late and are looking like a problem. They enter Monday on a two-game winning streak, having won five of their last seven. Overall, they are 10-4-2 in their last 16, and are currently listed as short favorites on the NHL betting odds.
The main difference has been the play of goaltender Jonathan Quick, who posted a 1.92 GAA in February, a 2.13 GAA in March and is at 1.50 in April right now. When he’s playing well, the Kings are hard to beat.
On the flip side, the Canucks are in a bit of a slump these days as they’ve lost two straight and four of six. On the whole, this is a team that’s been much weaker since their 18-7-1 start to the season. They are just 27-22-4 since then, which means they’re playing .500 hockey. The Kings are the better team these days, which is why you should take them with your NHL picks.
The Vancouver Canucks Can Win Because…
You don’t quite know what you’ll get from the Kings on the road. Los Angeles has dropped two in a row on the road, losing twice to playoff teams like Chicago and Minnesota while getting outscored 8-2. Overall, this is a team that’s been much more vulnerable in road games than at home this season. At home, the Kings are 24-16 but on the road, they are 15-23. One of the main reasons for that change in performance is because goaltender Jonathan Quick plays very differently in both situations. At home, he has a .924 save percentage with a 1.97 GAA. On the road, he’s at .908 and 2.63.
Although many people might want to suggest that the Kings are the only ones with motivation here, remember that the Canucks are just three points up on Los Angeles. They need points for survival too. That’s why you can expect them to want this one just as much.
The Kings haven’t been strong all season long but at this current moment, they’re the better team. And even when they were up and down, the Kings still dominated the Canucks as they’ve won three of four. In that span, Quick has a 1.26 GAA and a .947 save percentage against them.
Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives here but it makes sense to go with momentum – especially since the Canucks don’t have a clear home-ice advantage (21-17 both at home and away). That being the case, go with the Kings in this spot.
NHL Pick: Kings -125 at Pinnacle