My NHL season got started off on the right note as my first pick was a winner at big +140 odds as the Edmonton Oilers remained perfect with a thorough road victory over the New York Islanders.
I mentioned in yesterday’s write-up that James Neal was going to be an x-factor for this team and the offensive jolt the club needed to complement the big boys. I think James proved my point quite well in scoring four goals in the 5-2 win. Yes, Neal scored his third, fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the young season in the victory, recording the ever-difficult natural hat trick in the process.
The shots were dead-even at 27 apiece, but the Oilers capitalized on the man advantage with two more power play goals after scoring a pair of power play markers against the Kings on Saturday. Yes, Neal has all four of those power play goals over the last two games.
Standing tall in goal was Mikko Koskinen as the Finnish netminder turned aside 25 shots and posted a .960 Sv% at even strength. Koskinen earned his first win of the season in his first start of the season.
I will be posting my record and units won over the course of the season so you can follow along and judge for yourself whether you want to stick with my plays or roll the dice on your own.
- Season Record: 1-0
- Units: +1.40
Let’s turn our attention to tonight’s three-game NHL schedule and see if we can make it two in a row in a Pacific Division matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks from Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Kings vs. Canucks Betting Odds
Kings vs. Canucks NHL Pick
The Kings pulled off the upset of the Calgary Flames in overtime in the first leg of back-to-back games last night by a final of 4-3. With the four strikes, a terrible Kings offense from a season ago has suddenly scored nine goals over the first two games of the season. However, unlike Kings teams of the past, they’ve also allowed nine themselves and have been out-scored 9-8 in regulation so far.
After Jack Campbell recorded the victory last night, it will be Jonathan Quick’s turn between the pipes for this one. Quick was the netminder torched for six goals in the season-opening loss to the Oilers on Saturday, allowing those six tallies on just 31 shots, good for a .806 Sv%. The tough start to this season is a continuation of a rough 2018-19 campaign in which Quick posted a 3.38 GAA and .888 Sv% across 46 outings, good for the worst numbers of his career by a landslide.
On the Canucks side, they’ll be looking for their first victory of the season after dropping contests to the rival Oilers and Flames to open the campaign. Offense has been an early issue for the Canucks as they’ve scored just two goals in two games after being shutout by David Rittich and the Flames on Saturday.
On the positive side, the Canucks have been winning the possession game with a 54.4% Corsi For% at even strength on the season. Furthermore, they outshot the Oilers 33-22 in the 3-2 season-opening loss and again outshot the Flames 34-29 while losing 3-0 on Saturday. With both games coming on the road, it stands to reason the Canucks have played well at even strength this season.
On the flip side, the Kings rank 24th with a 46.7% Corsi For% at even strength in the young season.
Going 0 for 10 on the power play through two games won’t help, but Vancouver is also a perfect 6 for 6 on the penalty kill. Your best penalty killer is often your goaltender and for Vancouver that will be Jacob Markstrom for this one. Markstrom owns a nice 2.57 GAA and a .902 Sv% through two games this season, but has been remarkably consistent in posting a save percentage between .910 and .915 in his last four seasons. Not great numbers, but reliable and consistent, nonetheless.
At the end of the day, we have a Kings team playing their second game in as many nights tonight. Back-to-backs are always tough and they’ll take on a Canucks team skating in their home opener tonight in front of what should be a raucous crowd excited to see what the kids can bring to the table this season.
Furthermore, they’re starting a netminder in Quick that has struggled profusely for quite some time. Playing behind what is now a watered-down Kings blueline compared to year’s past isn’t helping, but Quick certainly isn’t the same netminder he was when the Kings were annually competing for the Stanley Cup.
I like the home side to win this one tonight, but I’m not paying -170 to do so. I’ll be looking at the 3-Way-Moneyline at Bovada and take the Canucks to win this one in regulation, or full-time as it’s called on the site. With this play, we’re getting the Canucks to win in regulation at nice +100 odds.
With a Kings team playing their second game in 24 hours against a Canucks team fired up to skate in their home opener, I see plenty of value in those odds and that’s what I will roll with tonight with my second pick of the NHL season.