The NHL odds are favoring the Minnesota Wild, who did the LA Kings a favor last night when they beat the Calgary Flames, the team that is a point behind the Kings for the final playoff spot in the West.
The Los Angeles Kings Can Win Because…
They’re on a roll right now. The Kings have won three straight and eight of 11, which might mark their best stretch of the season. That’s quite important because they are fighting for their playoff lives these days. Even though they’re the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Kings are going to go down to the wire in terms qualifying for the postseason.
The Kings have found some momentum these days mostly because of goaltender Jonathan Quick. He’s allowed two goals or less in nine of his last 10 games and he’s allowed an average of 1.3 goals per game in that span. When he’s playing like that, the Kings are going to be competitive each and every night.
Saturday’s matchup is important because the NHL odds favored Wild are one of the teams that the Kings are trying to catch. Minnesota is in a back-to-back situation after playing last night against Calgary and might be a bit worn down. That’s why the Kings are attractive as a road dog in this spot.
The Minnesota Wild Can Win Because…
They’re probably the best team in the NHL right now. The Wild won yet again on Friday night, which now makes it four straight. However, on a greater scale, they 23-5-1 in their last 29 contests, which is incredibly good. That’s a .793 winning percentage and as of this moment, no team in the league has a better winning percentage than .644 on the season.
The Wild continue to roll behind the stellar goaltending of Devan Dubnyk, who is 22-5-1 with a .941 save percentage and 1.82 GAA since the All-Star break. He’s allowed two goals or less in six of his last eight starts and he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any start in two months.
Although the Wild are in a back-to-back here, the Kings are playing their fourth game of a five-game Eastern Conference road trip. This is their fourth game in six nights, so fatigue might kick in for them. And beyond that, they’re not a great road team to begin with as they’ve won just 15 of 36 away games. Those are some of the reasons why the Wild are worth a NHL pick here.
This is a tricky game to handicap in terms of the side as both teams are playing well and both need this game. That means I’m going to stay away from the side and focus on the total. While this is normally an under series with five of the last six meetings overall going under and 18 of the last 24 in Minnesota, I think this one goes over because of fatigue. The Wild are in a back-to-back while the Kings are playing their fourth road game in six nights, so we should see at least five goals. The over is 15-9 this season in Kings road games with a total of five or less and 11-8 when the Wild are home with the same number.
NHL Pick: Over 5 at BetOnline