The LA Kings and Colorado Avalanche will be outdoors for the NHL Stadium Series at Falcon Stadium. Falcon Stadium is the home of the Air Force Falcons football team. This event is likely going to be more interesting than the Winter Classic in Texas. Colorado is much more of a hockey state and the weather should feel a bit more like hockey season. That said, it’s supposed to be fairly mild at around 40 degrees.
Certainly that’s not a bad deal for spectators having to sit outside. I went to the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium and drinks were frozen by the time you got back to your seat. Fans at Falcon Stadium will not have to worry about dealing with frigid conditions. While these outdoor games are a gimmick to bring in money, at the end of the day this is a very important game for the Avalanche. They can’t treat this like an exhibition or could lose two important points.
The Avalanche are gunning for the top spot in the Central Division with only two points of separation. The footsteps that the St. Louis Blues hear behind them are the Avalanche. A comfortable lead for the Blues has turned into a close affair. The Blues were the better team earlier on this season, but there has been a shift in the Central. St. Louis was able to peak at the perfect time last season, clearly. By going from last to the Stanley Cup, that was made abundantly clear.
One could argue that the Blues have already reached their peak this season and they’re on a negative slope. The Avalanche would not mind that, as their quest to overtake the Blues is getting closer and closer. They enter Saturday with a record of 33-17-6 and 72 points. The Capitals were able to cool them down a bit on their last showing, but still winners in eight of their previous ten games.
That was a game they should have had, as they went into the late stages of the contest with a 2-1 lead, though coughed it up for a 3-2 loss in regulation. They will take on a Kings team who haven’t been in the spotlight at all this season. The Kings are holding steady at the bottom of the Pacific Division at 20-33-5. Keep in mind that the Kings are likely going to be excited to play in a game where they finally get in the spotlight. That may give them a lift in Colorado at Falcon Stadium. Head below for our free Kings vs. Avalanche pick.
L.A. Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Avalanche Prediction:
A lot of players on the LA Kings know what it’s like to play in a big game with everyone watching. There are still plenty of guys from the 2012 and 2014 championship teams that are on the roster. It’s kind of the reason why the Kings are in the predicament they’re in at the moment. They awarded a lot of that talent with nice contracts, but didn’t really think of the implications for the future. The Kings are stuck with bad contracts now that no one wants to take off their hands. Jeff Carter would be an ideal trade chip, but why a GM would want to take on his contract is questionable. LA has been suffering with an older core offensively and defensively.
The Kings are 30th in the NHL with 2.45 goals scored per game. Their defence has steadily improved after a dreadful stretch for Jonathan Quick, though 3.17 goals against isn’t ideal. They’re 23rd in that regard, which is actually better than a few playoff hopefuls, including the Maple Leafs and Panthers. Having said that, the Kings have been getting torched in their zone recently, as they’ve been reverting back to past mistakes.
They’ve allowed 3.6 goals per game in their last ten games, while scoring just 2.1 a game on the opposite end of the ice. That resulted in only two wins in ten outings. Since January 11, the Kings have gone 2-10 for a brutal stretch. The Kings won four of five games in December, but it looks like nothing more than an outlier. You have to be careful when bad teams go on runs, because it’s not really indicative of what’s to come. Having said that, the Kings are coming off a nice 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. They were able to take advantage of a Flames team without much focus on the road, but they’re not going to get that benefit at Falcon Stadium tonight.
The Avalanche are leading the NHL in goals with 3.61 goals per contest. That’s good for 0.7 goals better than the Capitals. They are capable of doing a lot more than just score goals, though. Colorado has been efficient defensively as well, with 2.79 goals against per game. In their last ten games, the intensity has been turned up several notches, as they’ve yielded only 2 goals per game during that stretch. The loss against the Capitals was the first game that they allowed more than 2 goals since February 1. Colorado won’t have to deal with an offence nearly as good as Washington tonight. I’m with the Avs pulling away in the 3rd period for a comfortable win outside at Falcon Stadium.