A small card tonight in the NHL with only three games taking place. However, there are two marquee matchups that should garner your attention. First, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals face-off tonight in Washington, and then two of the NHL’s elite will take center-stage in LA where the Blackhawks and Kings will mingle. Oh, and the Leafs are also in action, if anyone cares at this juncture. It is a pretty important game for the Leafs as they look to snap their losing streak after the break, but most of the attention will be on the two abovementioned games. The Kings are looking to break out of a slump themselves. Ironically enough the Leafs are the only team that the Kings have beaten in the last eight games. Not impressive stuff if the only win on the resume in last month was against the Maple Leafs. The Kings were never a regular season team to begin with, so going into a lull at this point in the season isn’t too surprising to me. They are still a good team, but the playoffs are when the real season begins for them. The Blackhawks are only 5-5 in their last ten games. For them that is a funk in their own right, but they are winners of their previous two games before the All-Star break. We’ll see how it unfolds as the Blackhawks and Kings take the ice at Staples Center tonight.
No complaints from last nights pick, as the Pittsburgh Penguins took a 5-3 victory to easily push the game OVER the total of 5. I posted on the article 5.5, but the actual total was 5, so the win was easier than it appeared in my write-up. The Penguins came out of the gates fast after the All-Star break even without Crosby. It is another win for them without their best player and leader. All indications are that he returns tonight against the Washington Capitals, who have been a hot team the past month or so. I’ll watch that game and then watch the Blackhawks and Kings where I look to cash in.
Chicago Blackhawks @ LA Kings
The Chicago Blackhawks by all accounts statistically appear to be the best team in the NHL. Like the Kings, the Hawks are a battle-tested team that will come to play in the playoffs, they have the Stanley Cups to prove it. But, the Blackhawks are a regular season team as well. They win no matter what the occasion is. The Blackhawks come into LA with a record of 30-15-2. They have an impressive offense that ranks 5th in the NHL in scoring, with 3.02 goals per game. And also have a well-rounded defense that is 2nd in the league in goals allowed. The Kings who are generally near the top in total defense as well, have regressed considerably this season, allowing 2.53 goals per game for 12th in the NHL. It isn’t a bad mark, but for a team like the Kings that have won Stanley Cups because of their defense, it is definitely a little off for them.
Defense has been an option in this series between the Blackhawk and Kings. Considering the Hawks and Kings generally have solid defenses it is hard to believe how many goals are being scored when they meet up. Some matchups between teams on the ice just lend itself to offense and that is what we are witnessing here. The Kings have shown some vulnerabilities on defense of late, allowing an average of 3.2 goals in per game. As have the Blackhawks who let in 3 goals per game. However, both offenses were still scoring. The Hawks with 3 goals per game and the Kings with 2.8 a game. The OVER is 6-0-1 their last seven games. Additionally, the OVER is 4-0-2 in LA between these two clubs. With a total of 5 it seems reasonable to make a bet on the OVER 5 in this spot Wednesday night.
Pick – OVER 5 GOALS 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)