The Vancouver Canucks (80 points) and Los Angeles Kings (77 points) are both fighting it out for a post-season berth and both teams have helped their causes with an identical 6-3-1 mark in their last 10 games. See who we like in this game as our pick as this is a crucial game for both respective teams.
Ice-time is set for tonight at 10:00 pm ET at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. According to the NHL betting odds, it is the Kings who are the -130 betting favorites on the road and the total for the game is 5.5 goals. The Kings could be getting the respect from the odds makers as they are the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
I have been nailing several underdog bets as of late. Will the Canucks be my next conquest? Where the Kings are concerned, at 77 points, they will need to continue to win or they could miss the post season all together.
This is a late game, therefore we haven't received any confirmation on who will be in net. It's expected that we'll see a matchup between Jonathan Quick for the Kings and Eddie Lack for the Canucks. Lack's 10-8-3 mark leaves a lot to be desired, but he's come on strong as of late, winning his last 2 games while sweeping away 67 out of 70 shots on goal.
As for Quick, we know what he's capable of from watching his brilliance in the Stanley Cup Finals. This season has been a mixed bag of tricks as he hasn't been receiving a sufficient amount of goal support.
For the season, Quick is 28-17-11, with a 2.37 GAA and a .913 SV%. Quick has been exceptional in his last 4 games as the Los Angeles offense has woken up, scoring 4 goals in 3 of these games. This ought to be a tight game between two teams that really need the 2 points which are up for grabs.
Sedin = Assist
The opportunity is definitely there for the Vancouver offense as the combination of Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin has accounted for 99 assists this season to go along with 29 goals. This means that players such as Radim Vrbata (25 goals, 23 assists) have been able to capitalize. Even though Henrik Sedin has been a pure set up man in his lengthy career (690 assists out of 902 points), Sedin has been putting the puck in then net as of late with 3 goals and 1 assist in his last 5 games. He should be a factor in this game.
As for Daniel Sedin, he's been a bit more of a goal scorer than his brother, but is primarily a set up man also. He has 4 assists in his last 5 games. While Sedin equals assist, Vrbata equals goal as Radim Vrbata has 3 goals in his last 3 games.
Vrbata leads the team in goals and has a goal and an assist in 2 games against L.A. this season. Vancouver is a very experienced hockey club and in the end, they find the way to get the job done with timely goals.
The Kings are coming off of a 5-2 victory over Colorado and their goal scoring came from an unlikely source as Kyle Clifford potted 2 goals in this game. The 2 goals are equal to 1/3 of his goal production all season long. That said, Clifford scored a goal a week ago against Edmonton. The Kings would welcome any added assistance as they're not world-beaters where lighting the lamp is concerned.
One player that the Kings can rely on for offense is leading scorer, Jeff Carter. Along with 23 goals and 28 assists for the season, Carter has really played aggressively as of late. He has 5 goals in his last 5 games. Where the power play is concerned, Marian Gaborik has been a flatout beast. In his last 3 games, Gaborik has netted 3 power play goals to go along with his team high 10 power play goals. Los Angeles will need for these two top goal scorers to keep up the solid play in order to have a chance at the playoffs and possibly repeating as Stanley Cup Champs.
I like the way that Lack has been playing in net as of late and Los Angeles is a team that excels at home. Look for the Canucks as your NHL pick to pick up the victory as home dog.
NHL Pick- Vancouver +105 at 5Dimes