The LA Kings welcome the Vancouver Canucks to the Staples Center on Wednesday night. The Canucks have to be feeling confident after putting on a show against the Florida Panthers. Vancouver blasted Florida by a score of 7-2, which included 5 goals in the 1st period. The Canucks went into the intermission with a 5-1 lead and coasted from there to an easy win.
With the win, the Canucks advanced to 7-3-1 on the year. The question everyone is trying to answer is whether the Canucks are for real. It’s early, but I think to an extent that the Canucks are for real. They may not be a Stanley Cup contender, though it’s time to keep an eye on Vancouver.
The Canucks have been stockpiling young talent for a few years and the results are beginning to show. Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser were both stars in the making. It was evident when they first came into the league that the Canucks had something special with them. They just needed time to develop and get a support cast on the team.
The emergence of Elias Pettersson last season provided much more than a support cast. The 20-year-old was fantastic as a rookie with 28 goals and 38 assists. He’s a star in the making who has a tremendous future in the NHL. Pettersson is off to a fast start in his sophomore campaign. He leads the team with 14 points and has shown no possible signs of a sophomore slump on the horizon. Instead, look for Pettersson in the All-Star Game.
The Kings have their work cut out for them tonight. They’re going to have to keep tabs on a lot of talented youngsters with their older legs. The Kings are trending in the opposite direction, as the remaining members of the Kings’ Stanley Cup team play out their careers in LA.
A fire sale at the trade deadline would be in their best interest, but the likes of Jonathan Quick are untradeable at this point. Quick is expected between the pipes for the Kings tonight. It’s been a struggle for him this season and he gets a red-hot Canucks squad to try and tame. Head below for our free Canucks vs. Kings pick.
Vancouver Canucks vs. L.A. Kings Pick
The Kings are an older team stuck in a league that is quickly being dominated by younger legs. With a couple of Stanley Cups in the last decade, whatever pain the Kings are enduring right now was well worth it. However, they might have waited a little too long to trade some of their pieces.
The problem now is that no one is going to want the contracts on this team. There might be a few guys who could be valuable to a contender, but not at the price they carry. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are not cheap, though you’re not getting elite play from either of them at this stage in their careers.
A lot of the Kings’ struggles come down to transition defence. The back check has been horrible. Faster teams are finding it easy to skate up the ice into their zone and causing havoc around Jonathan Quick, who has been horrible between the pipes, mind you. It’s been difficult for them to get back defensively and the proof has been on the ice.
A team that was well known for their tough nosed defence is getting abused. The Kings are dead last in the NHL with 4.08 goals against per game. Go back a few years and you’ll find a top-10 defence. They’ve degraded pretty quickly on the blue line.
Quick has had no answers in net, as he’s been unable to steal games for his team. The previously reliable Quick has been reduced to mush between the pipes. He enters Wednesday with a 4.48 GAA and 0.849 save percentage in seven outings. His trade value is nonexistent right now, so the Kings can’t entertain that option.
Look for the young Canucks to give the Kings a lot of headaches in LA tonight. The Kings have been especially bad at home defensively, with an average of 4.86 goals allowed per game. Their offence has been okay, though, with an average of 2.6 notched. That isn’t nearly enough to make up for their struggles defensively, though. The Kings have surrendered 5 goals in each of their previous three games.
This looks like a game set-up for the Canucks to win easily. Although, the price on this one appears awfully trappy. It’s like the sportsbooks are screaming for Canucks’ money at this affordable price against an inferior Kings team. Whether the Kings win is irrelevant to me, because the Canucks are likely going to score regardless. The youngsters are going to be too much for the Kings’ defence here. Expect the OVER to get there and return a profit on Wednesday at the Staples Center in LA.