Take Kings For Your NHL Picks As They Even Season Series vs. Coyotes

Jay Pryce

Saturday, January 23, 2016 2:25 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 2:25 PM UTC

The Coyotes, losers of four straight, host the Pacific-leading Kings. Arizona have taken two of three from L.A. Can it pull off another upset for our NHL picks?

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Free NHL Pick: Kings -129
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


The Coyotes host the Kings at the Gila River Arena on Saturday (9 p.m. ET), losers of four straight. But they have owned Pacific division foes this season, going 10-2-2 overall, including taking two of three against L.A. Can they continue their dominance?


L.A. Kings (29-14-3, 61 pts)
The Kings were shutout just two times all season before Thursday night's 3-0 thumping by Darcy Kuemper and the Wild at the Staples Center. Bettors should expect them to rebound with a solid offensive display in this one, though. In nine games since 2014, L.A. puts in 2.9 goals per contest following a scoreless effort. Moreover, the Coyotes own the 27th worst goals-against average at 3.0 per tilt. L.A. Is 7-3 against teams allowing this or more on the season, slotting home 3.2  per game.

Netminder Jonathan Quick is the team's MVP. Along with a handful of solid outings by former Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth, the two have a combined .924 save percentage

Coach Darryl Sutter really likes the production he's getting out of Tyler Toffoli with 22 goals, 14 assists, and 36 points. The 23-year-old center's +27 leads the NHL in plus-minus, showing elite skills on both offense and defense. But the slick-handling Anze Kopitar is still the primary playmaker. When he registers a point or more on the night, the Kings are 20-8 SU, returning nearly 20 percent profit to investors. Including the playoffs, the 10-year veteran has suited up 61 times against Arizona. The Kings are 5-17 when he is held pointless.


Arizona Coyotes (22-19-5, 49 pts)
The Coyotes play the final contest of a seven-game home-stand against the Kings. Losers of four straight, they have managed just one goal or fewer in its last three contests after losing 3-1 to the Sharks on Thursday night. But it has lit up L.A. For 10 goals in three games this season, winning two and giving the No. 2 defense in the league (2.2 GAA) fits. 

They've jumped on their rivals early, holding them down to a tune of 2.2 goals per game. Most of these came earlier in the season, however. Since veteran goalie Mike Smith went on the IR in December with a sports hernia, Arizona has given away three or more in four of six games.

Goaltender Louis Domingue has taken over as starter between the pipes, going 7-2-3 in his brief career. The 23-year-old rookie stopped 46 of 50 shots in the two regulation losses.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is arguably the most important player on the roster, but a pair of 20-year-old wingers, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, are the two making a huge impact. Domi may be the best rookie in the league. His 31 points through 45 games ranks second among first-year's, and his 13 goals second-most on the Coyotes. The OVER, in fact, is 16-5-3 when Domi puts two or more shots on goal, but his high activity is as much a product of Arizona chasing games from behind as anything.


Final Analysis
Despite two wins against the Kings this season, Arizona really suffers against solid defensive teams that play in front of goal. It is 4-9-3 in games against teams allowing 28 shots on goal or less on the year, netting just 2.3 goals per contest. NHL odds boards are not displaying the line as of publication. I'm not crazy about laying anything over -115 in any sport, and anticipate it will be a bit north of this number for L.A., but will shop around and take the Kings at the best price for my NHL picks.

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