The NHL returns tonight with a slate of action on Saturday. The league always goes on hiatus before Christmas and on Christmas, but I thought it would be nice if there was some action instead. Ah well, can’t be too selfish can we. And besides, the day following Christmas there is hockey so I can live with that. If you’re not a fan of basketball, I can say that no hockey for a few days is probably unbearable. Not to fret though, there is some NHL hockey today. As well as the NHL, college football continues on with the bowls and there is an important game in the NFL tonight. For my NHL pick, we head out to the desert where the LA Kings meet with the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona is where I left you guys before the break, a game which featured the Leafs and Yotes. In that one the Coyotes thankfully came out victorious for us. Jonathan Bernier has been an ATM machine if you’ve been fading him. The Maple Leafs at this point would probably rather want to start Reimer on crutches or in a wheelchair than have to send out Bernier.
Bernier was supposed to be a guy who was a product of circumstance. He wasn’t going to unseat Jonathan Quick as the starter in LA, but elsewhere in the league there were openings for him to showcase his talents. As we have come to find out now for Bernier, he doesn’t look like much of a starting goaltender. The Leafs really have gone through their number of goalies over the years. They haven’t had a consistent guy in net that they can depend on since well Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph. That makes you want to laugh. Anyway, tonight isn’t about the Leafs, but rather Bernier’s former team the Kings. Quick has gone on to win Stanley Cups and be one of the best goalies in the NHL. This season my opinion of the Kings is not completely clear yet. I know I’m not the only one. But when they did win their first Stanley Cup, the Kings were a hard team to get a feel for in the regular season and they did just fine. They come back from the break on the road against the Coyotes tonight.
LA Kings vs. Arizona Coyotes NHL Pick
The Coyotes goaltending situation looked to be in dire straits before Louis Domingue has seemingly come to the rescue. With Mike Smith out, the Coyotes looked to Domingue before they exercised the market for a starting goalie. He has said what a minute here, I can handle the starting role, and that he has. Domingue has posted a 1.62 GAA and .946 save percentage. Not too bad for a guy that was just thrown into the fire. If he continues to play like this, Mike Smith may want to watch out for his starting job.
The Coyotes have scored more goals than the Kings per game, 2.73 goals per game compared to 2.48 for LA. The Kings have the upper-hand defensively statistically, as the Kings have allowed only 2.27 goals per game to the Yotes 3.15. But since Domingue has been starting the goals against have been a strength for Arizona. In his last two starts since taking over he has given up only 2 goals. The Coyotes have a 6-4 record against the Kings their last ten meetings, so they have proved they are capable of beating them. The price doesn’t make much sense to me. Sports betting is about finding value, and I think there is value to be had here on the Coyotes at +144.
PICK: COYOTES TO WIN +144