The Detroit Red Wings had a rough start to the season in a home overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. After struggling throughout most of last season, Detroit is looking for their youth to pave the way to a more successful season. While their first game was not a success, they could bounce back with a road upset against the Kings.
The Red Wings had five players make their NHL debut against the Blue Jackets. Dennis Cholowski scored his first career goal, but the rest had below par games. With five rookies on the roster, Detroit is going to see a lot of inconsistent play out of those lines. Three of their rookies are defensemen, which could see a lot of rough patches this season for the goalies.
Los Angeles also dropped their first game of the season in overtime against the San Jose Sharks. The Kings made the playoffs last season but were bounced in four games by the Vegas Golden Knights. Los Angeles went into the offseason with the goal of improving on last season’s early playoff loss.
Detroit and Los Angeles met up twice in last season. In both games, the Kings beat the Red Wings by a score of 4-1. Anze Kopitar was on fire against the Red Wings. In the two games against Detroit, he had 3 goals and 4 assists. Drew Doughty also found quite a bit of success with 5 assists. I believe that Los Angeles could get some revenge with another successful outing on Sunday night.
Early Season Injuries
Detroit is sitting rough with the injury bug this season. The Red Wings are missing three starting defensemen in Jonathan Ericsson, Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall. Green is probably out for the first month of the season. Ericsson and Kronwall could return in the next week. Detroit is also missing Evgeny Svechnikov, who could be a really nice youthful piece on their roster.
The Kings only have one key injury, but it is kind of important. Los Angeles is without Dustin Brown, who had a resurged season last year playing with Anze Kopitar. Brown has a broken finger, which hopefully will not keep him out long. Los Angeles is also without Jonny Brodzinski. He is a nice young prospect in the bottom six for the Kings.
It is a little early to worry about special teams, but Los Angeles had a rough start going zero for five on the power play. The Kings had a solid penalty kill though, stopping all three of the Sharks power play chances. Last season, Los Angeles’ power play was at 20.42 percent, while they killed off 85 percent of the penalties against them.
Detroit had a solid power play, as they scored on one of three chances. The Red Wings had six penalties against and only allowed one power play goal. Detroit needs to be a bit more disciplined this game. The Red Wings finished with a 17.52 power play percentage and a 77.61 penalty kill percentage last season.
Jimmy Howard will likely start in net again for the Red Wings. Howard turned away 36 of 39 shots against the Blue Jackets. Howard finished with a .910 save percentage and a GAA of 2.85 last season. He is a solid goalie to have at the helm, but he needs the young defensemen in front of him to stay strong.
Jonathan Quick will start opposite Howard on Sunday night. Quick had 30 saves on 33 shots against San Jose. Last season, Quick had a save percentage of .921 and a 2.40 GAA. He is one of the best starting goalies in the league and he will be hungry for a win on Sunday night.
The edge for goalies definitely goes to the Kings. Howard is a solid starting goaltender, but Quick is in an elite class. With an inconsistent young defensive core in front of Howard, it could be a rough night if Los Angeles dominates early.
The Kings are looking to bounce back after a rough home loss to the Sharks. Dropping their first two games at home would be extremely rough. I believe that the Kings will come out strong and control the game. Detroit allowed the Blue Jackets to dominate time of possession in their first game. If the Red Wings have to play come from behind again, I believe it could be a tough loss.
BetOnline has the Kings listed at a money line of -187. I do not believe there is much value in this bet. The over/under for this game is listed at 5 ½. For the over, you get +113 odds. I believe there is plenty of value in this bet. Last season the Kings almost reached that point on their own. A final of 4-2 or something like that, seems completely reasonable to me. Los Angeles has had their share of offensive success against Detroit recently.