It is crazy how fast this NHL season is playing out. It feels like the season started just a couple weeks, but we’re only a few weeks away from 2015. Don’t even get me started on the football season. The regular season is all wrapped up in college football, and we’re only a couple of weeks from the start of the NFL playoffs. Pretty soon we’re going to be focusing on the baseball season. Spring Training is still months away, but it isn’t going to take too long for it to get here. It has been a profitable NFL season for me, and in the NHL I have been playing ping pong with myself. Back and forth with great stretches and bad ones. I’m doing this write-up during the 2nd intermission of the Hurricanes/Lightning where they are in a tie 0-0 heading into the 3rd period. So, I can’t comment on the result of that, but the Hurricanes have been playing the highest scoring team in the NHL hard. We’ll see how that one ends up.
The Kings were in Ottawa last night, and now they make the short trip over to Montreal for a meeting with them Friday night. The Senators are in a little bit of disarray, but the Kings will face a more stable Canadiens’ team tonight who are 18-10-2. That is a few games better than the Kings, who are coming in with a record of 14-9-5. At this point does it really matter what the Kings record is. I don’t think anyone cares. As long as it is good enough to get them into the playoffs then that should be good enough for them. They won their previous two Stanley Cups because they got hot at the right time. They remind me of the New York Giants when they were actually playing competitive football. I think the Kings have a chance to be more competitive than the Giants for longer, however. I don’t want to get into football talk, but the Giants are going to be a mess for a few years. Back to hockey, where we look to cash in with an NHL pick tonight.
Los Angeles Kings @ Montreal Canadiens
The good news for the Kings is that they have been playing in their kind of games lately. The defense and goaltending has steadily improved. Don’t get me wrong, the defense has been good all season, but I can’t say they’ve played lockdown hockey on the defensive end until recently. In their last four games, the Kings have allowed only three goals for an average of 0.75 allowed per contest. The UNDER has also been 5-0-1 in their last six games. Note this isn’t including last night, but they are playing tight defense on the Sens at the moment, where they’ve only given up a goal over 40 minutes and some change of play. They are going to win more games than not playing this brand of hockey. The Kings are now allowing 2.04 goals a game for 3rd in the NHL. The L.A. Kings will be faced with another tight defense on the opposite end tonight.
The Habs aren’t too far behind the Kings defensively, where they are 10th best in the NHL on defense. A top 10 without including Carey Price and the Canadiens would be weird to see, but the Canadiens are hanging on to a top 10 spot. They are pretty equal in terms of defense and offense, on defense they are allowing 2.53 goals and then they are scoring 2.43 a game. Considering they are letting in more goals than they are scoring, they are in a pretty good position 8 games above .500. I don’t know if it bodes well for the long term, though. The Canadiens’ defense should be able to take advantage of a team that was in a dogfight last night with the Senators. I expect a tight low-scoring contest which points to a bet on the UNDER 5.
Pick – UNDER 5 GOALS (-115) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)