The Los Angeles Kings are back in action tonight following a valiant effort last night at the STAPLES Center. They gave the Dallas Stars all they could handle, but Anton Khudobin had an answer for almost everything. The Kings got on the board early with an Anze Kopitar strike with no defenders around in front of the crease. Khudobin had little chance to sprawl out and get that puck, but he was able to save every other shot on Wednesday night. The Kings were stymied for a 2-1 loss, failing to get the tying goal in the third period to fall to 17-24-4 on the season.
Those near losses are tough pills to swallow for a team like the Kings. They’ve been out-manned in several games this season, but that was one where they held in there against a quality Stars team. It was also a spot where they got a good performance out of Jonathan Quick. He’s been off the mark this season, and wasting a solid outing by him stings for the Kings.
There will be no rest for the Kings after that hard-fought loss. Having to play a back-to-back after competing versus a physical team like the Stars cannot be fun, especially following the effort they put into Wednesday night. If that’s not bad enough for the Kings, they must travel to Las Vegas for a stop at a destination where there could be a distraction or two. With only 38 points on the season and dead last in the Pacific, the Kings are just looking to hold their heads above water in the second-half.
The Vegas Golden Knights had a rough showing versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday night. Or, I should say, that Marc-Andre Fleury had a tough night at the office. Fleury had a night he would rather forget, as he allowed 4 goals on just 16 shots to finish with a 0.75 save percentage. The Golden Knights were the better team, but that doesn’t always equate to a win in the NHL.
Despite the loss, the Golden Knights have been playing well recently. They head into Thursday with wins in four of their last five games. The offence has been lighting the lamp with ease recently, and the Knights are just waiting for Fleury to catch fire for everything to come full circle in Vegas. They own a record of 24-16-6 and 54 points to put them in a tie with the Coyotes for 1st in the Pacific Division. It’s a wide open race, and the Golden Knights will have only themselves to blame if they can’t win the division. Missed opportunities against inferior opponents like the Kings add up. Head below for our free Kings vs. Golden Knights pick.
L.A. Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The Golden Knights couldn’t have done much else against the Penguins in their most recent outing. Other than Fleury having an off night that is. Tristan Jarry was under constant pressure between the pipes, as he stopped 31 of 34 shots at T-Mobile Arena. Quick got the nod for the Kings last night, so expect to see backup netminder, Jack Campbell, on Thursday night in Las Vegas. Campbell has been below average with a 2.92 GAA and 0.894 save percentage in 15 games. He’s regressed hard after providing the Kings with a serviceable option behind Quick. Campbell posted a 2.30 GAA and 0.928 save percentage last season in 31 appearances.
Campbell’s production regresses on the road, where he’s posted a 3.10 GAA and 0.883 save percentage in nine showings. In comparison, Campbell has been better at home with a 2.65 GAA and 0.91 save percentage. The Kings have been fine at home this year, as we saw last night against the Stars, they typically show up and put on a decent show for the home crowd. However, there hasn’t appeared to be much motivation for them in opposing arenas. The Kings enter T-Mobile Arena with a shoddy record of 6-14-3. Only the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators have been worse in that regard.
The Kings have been rather lifeless on the road, having netted only 2.3 goals per game. Overall, they are 30th in the league with 2.51 goals scored, so they go from bad to even worse away from the STAPLES Center. The offence has also gotten drilled for 3.52 goals against per game on the road in 2019-20. Vegas has been on fire offensively of late, as they’ve scored at least 3 goals in 12 straight games.
In their previous five games, the Knights have found the back of the net an average of 4.4 times per contest. This looks like a tricky chore for Jack Campbell on Thursday night. I could also see Fleury bouncing back for a big night against a bad Kings’ offence. This should provide a nice spot for him to get his confidence back. He faces a Kings team on a back-to-back who are just 2-5-0 when playing in consecutive nights. If everything goes according to plan, the Golden Knights should earn a 4-2 or 5-2 victory at home on Thursday night.