That’s what we’re talkin’ about! Last night’s clean 3-0 sweep is just what the doctor ordered as we continue to dig ourselves out of that ugly January hole.
The easiest of the winners on the night came between the Hurricanes and Predators where I had the ‘Canes to win that one on the puckline (-1.5) at +120 odds against a beat up Predators back end. As I fully expected, the Hurricanes offense went to work as they scored three first-period goals that stood as more than enough en route to a breezy 5-1 win, notching just a 1.2-unit profit in the process.
At the same time, the Capitals were going to work on the Flyers as +107 road underdogs. Washington actually built a 4-1 lead entering the third in that one before a couple of third-period Flyers tallies tightened the collar a little bit. That said, the Caps added a late empty-netter to seal a 5-3 win and a 1.07-unit profit for their backers.
Finally, we had the Flames at -105 on the moneyline to take care of what should have been a tired Montreal team playing their second game in a 24-hour span. Calgary carried a 2-0 lead late into the third and while a Canadiens goal cut it to 2-1 in the dying minutes, Calgary held on and capped our evening with a one-unit profit.
All told, the 3-0 netted us 3.27 units in profit as we look to keep rolling with this Kings vs. Avalanche NHL pick from Colorado!
- Season record: 23-23
- Units: -0.61
Kings vs. Avalanche Betting Odds
- Kings (+198)
- Avalanche (-221)
- Kings +1.5 (-135)
- Avalanche -1.5 (+115)
- Over 5.5 (-107)
- Under 5.5 (-103)
Kings vs. Avalanche NHL Pick Breakdown
It’s fair to say that not many expected much from a Kings offense in transition this season, however this group has delivered beyond expectations to this point.
As we sit here today, the Kings rank 14th with 3.08 goals per game on the season while they’ve been one of the better power-play clubs in the league at 27.5%, good for sixth in the league.
The advanced metrics aren’t so kind to their offense, however, at least not from a scoring chance perspective. At 5v5, the Kings rank 29th in scoring chances for/60 and 25th in high-danger chances for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick, so clearly generating chances around a bottom-five rate in the league. However, their 2.19 goals/60 at 5v5 this season isn’t too far beyond their 2.00 expected mark, so you would think if the power play can remain productive, so can the Kings’ offense as a whole.
It’s certainly a hot Kings offense entering this one as they hung five goals on the Ducks in back-to-back games earlier in the week and have actually scored 14 goals over their last three games, good for a cool 4.67 goals/game clip.
Furthermore the power play is white-hot entering this one after going 4 for 8 against the Ducks, but L.A. has also scored at least one power play goal in six straight games with a monstrous 39.1% clip in that time. Kings center Anze Kopitar’s 19 power play points this season ranks second to only Connor McDavid and his 20, to give you an idea of how potent this group has been this season, led by their captain.
Like with the offense, there probably wasn’t much expected from this Kings defense this season as they have certainly slipped from their heyday when they were annually one of the best defensive teams in the circuit.
Again, they’re exceeding expectations.
On the season, the Kings rank 12th with 2.84 goals against per game on the season, but they’ve also been excellent on the penalty kill where they sit eighth with an 83.1% mark on the campaign.
Underneath the hood, however, the Kings rank 21st in scoring chances against/60 and 23rd in high-danger chances against/60 at 5v5, but again, their 2.30 goals against/60 on the season is extremely close to their 2.26 expected mark, so as long as that penalty kill can remain efficient there shouldn’t be much of a reason as to why this defense should regress moving forward.
After allowing six goals to the lowly Ducks’ offense on Monday, the L.A. defense bounced back two nights later while allowing just one goal in the rematch, something they’ll look to replicate in this one tonight.
The Kings’ goaltending situation has been all over the map in less than a week.
Jonathan Quick was injured Saturday, and while he’s still day-to-day, he’s been ruled out for tonight. Cal Petersen was schedule to start again Wednesday, but was a late scratch due to league protocols, thrusting third-string netminder Troy Grosenick into his first NHL action since 2014, and he was good in stopping 33 of 34 shots on Wednesday while earning his first NHL win since 2014.
We don’t have word on Petersen’s status as of yet, but it would be surprising to see him go on and off the protocol list in a 48-hour span, so I would suggest Grosenick gets the nod for the second straight night tonight.
The 31-year-old has appeared in just three NHL games, posting a 1.35 GAA and .957 Sv% in that time. He’s struggled in two AHL games this season, but also posted a 2.29 GAA and .920 Sv% in 33 AHL games last season and a 2.41 GAA and .919 Sv% across 46 AHL games in the 2018-19 campaign.
We’ll see how this situation shakes out, but unfortunately it’s likely that we won’t know until much closer to puck drop.
The Avs have been a little disappointing as the pre-season Stanley Cup favorite here in 2021, and the offense hasn’t clicked at a rate that we’re used to at this point.
For the season, the Avs rank 16th with 3.00 goals per game on the season while their power play has been solid at 13th with healthy 22.3% clip. Still, this was the league’s fourth-ranked offense from a season ago, although their power play dipped last season despite elite-level talent across the board on that top unit.
At 5v5, the Avs rank third in scoring chances for/60, 15th in high-danger chances for/60 and sixth in expected goals for/60 this season while their 2.28 goals/60 sits a few ticks below their 2.34 expected mark. Given the skill set up front, I find it hard to image this offense doesn’t work its way into the top 10 moving forward.
Most recently, Colorado ran into a white-hot Antti Raanta as they peppered him with 46 shots on Wednesday, but it took an overtime winner to beat him 2-1 in that one while the Avs have scored just four goals on their last 81 shots from that two-get set with Arizona. That 4.9% shooting rate is going to nowhere but up moving forward, likely sooner than later.
While the offense has been a mild disappointing so far, Colorado’s defense certainly has not been.
Overall, the Avalanche rank fifth with 2.46 goals against per game on the season while their penalty killing also sits fifth at 85.9%. Not only are the overall numbers very good, the underlying metrics are there to back them up.
At 5v5, the Avs rank second in scoring chances against/60, eighth in high-danger chances against/60 and third in expected goals against/60 on the season. Their 2.23 goals against/60 is actually above their 1.85 expected mark, so this team deserves to be even better defensively if you believe the advanced data.
That said, this is currently a short-handed group and one that will have to rally to stop a hot Kings offense in this one.
The Avalanche are currently without Cale Makar, Erik Johnson, Bowen Byram and Connor Timmins from that blueline, leaving Ryan Graves, Sam Girard and Devon Toews as the three healthy blueliners from their top-six for this one. It doesn’t appear anyone other than Timmins could re-enter the lineup tonight, so it’s certainly an undermanned back end at the moment.
Unlike the Kings, we know who will be between the pipes tonight for the home side and that will be No. 1 goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
Grubauer came out of the gate hot this season and enjoyed a stellar month of January, but tailed off some in February and has endured an up-and-down month of March to this point.
The German netminder has posted a 2.17 GAA in March, but his more telling .898 Sv% he’s worked to. The low GAA stems from the Avs not allowing many shots on goal as they allowed only 14 in each of their last two games against the Coyotes, but he’s pretty much alternated back and forth between poor and quality outings, most recently stopping 13 of the 14 shots he faced on Wednesday after surrendering three goals on 14 shots in the first of the two against Arizona on Monday night.
We’ll see if he can make it two straight quality outings tonight.
Kings vs. Avalanche NHL Pick
Believe it or not, the Kings are just two points back of these Avs for the fourth and final postseason spot in the West Division, and while Colorado holds a game in hand, that’s a heck of a lot closer than everyone thought it would be at the midway mark of the season.
That said, it’s tough for me to suggest a long-shot on L.A. with their third-string goaltender going against this Avalanche offense. Grosenick was excellent on Wednesday, but this Avalanche offense is far superior to that one in Anaheim.
For me, I’m looking for a high-scoring affair in this one.
We’re dealing with some quality penalty killing teams, but given the goaltending situation in L.A. and the battered-and-bruised nature of the Avalanche blueline, I believe we have a couple of vulnerable back ends here.
We also have two very good power plays going to work here, a red-hot Kings offense and a Colorado offense ready to explode after running head-on into a hot goaltender over the course of the week.
I like the 5.5 total and the odds are certainly reasonable, so sign me up for the Over tonight from Denver.