The Los Angeles Kings continue their three-game road trip with the finale in Montreal against the Canadiens. They’ve been unsuccessful thus far, with losses against the Maple Leafs and Senators. The Kings fought and made their trips to Toronto and Ottawa competitive, but have just a point to show for it in an overtime loss against the Sens on Thursday.
They haven’t had much to show for this season overall. Heading into Quebec, the Kings own a record of 5-10-1, which is to be expected for them. Kings’ fans expecting more must be really disappointed right now. But I don’t think anyone who follows the NHL even loosely had the Kings doing anything this year.
The Kings have to shed a lot of salary. They have to get younger and unload their older talent, but finding potential trade suitors is going to be problematic. No GM would be dumb enough to take on most of the contracts on the Kings. The 11-year Jeff Carter deal is burning a hole in their wallet and he isn’t the only one.
Anze Kopitar is in just his fourth year of an eight-year deal and Drew Doughty is in his second of an eight-year extension. Kopitar and Doughty still have talent, but they’re not just at a point where they can be the focal point of a roster any longer. If they had better contracts, there’d be teams lining up asking about them.
As it is, though, the Kings are on the hook for a lot of money and will have to figure something out along the way. Jonathan Quick has been struggling between the pipes as well, who is another guy on an expensive deal that they will have around for the foreseeable future. The Kings take on a Canadiens team looking to build up some consistency. They enter Saturday with a record of 8-5-2 on the year. Head below for our free Kings vs. Canadiens pick.
L.A. Kings vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
The Canadiens have been up and down this season, with some bright spots to feel good about. For instance, the Canadiens recently downed the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-4 at the Bell Centre. They also have recent wins against the Golden Knights in Vegas and Maple Leafs. You have to take the bad with the good, though, as the Canadiens haven’t looked sharp at times as well. Following the 5-4 win over the Bruins, the Habs followed it up with a 3-2 loss against the Flyers in overtime. You could argue that the Canadiens suffered a letdown there after beating a rival. In any event, the Canadiens are 4-2 in their previous six games.
For the Canadiens to have success and go to the playoffs, it’s going to hinge on the performances of Carey Price. The offence has been fun to watch in Montreal this season. However, defensively the Canadiens have left a lot on the table. That could change in a hurry if Price gets hot, though. Price holds a 2.77 GAA and 0.912 save percentage, which isn’t terrible by any means. But they’re going to need him to steal games to make up for their shoddy defence. Montreal are 6th in the NHL with 3.56 goals scored per game. That should work against a Kings team who’ve given up 3.94 goals against per game for 31st in the league.
The Kings have been especially bad defensively on the road. It’s like they aren’t even trying most of the time. They’ve allowed a staggering 4.44 goals per game on the road. The offence has nothing to brag about either, as they’ve notched just 2.33 goals per game. That adds up to a record of 2-6-1 on the road in 2019-20. The Kings likely just want to get back to California right now and aren’t focused on the Canadiens on Saturday night. If the Habs want to play tonight, they should get out of this contest with a win in regulation.