The Los Angeles Kings look to gather more confidence in Pittsburgh against the Penguins on Saturday evening. They’re on a rare two-game winning streak, with wins over the Rangers and Ducks. It isn’t much, but they are wins and the Kings suddenly have a respectable 28 points. The Pacific Division is wide open for any team to take, but the Kings are highly unlikely to be a threat in the division.
A solid goal might be hovering around the .500 mark by the end of the season. That’s exceed expectations and a major improvement from the 31-42-9 they concluded the 2018-19 season with. They face a stiff challenge against the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in this one. The Penguins may be without Sidney Crosby, as he continues to recover from surgery, but they’ve developed a solid plan to win games without him.
The Penguins enter Saturday night with a productive record of 18-10-4 and 40 points. You can’t ask for much more than that from them without Crosby. He’s still one of the best hockey players on the planet and his presence has been missed in the lineup. Having said that, the Penguins are holding their heads well above water in his absence. Fortunately Evgeni Malkin has had no serious injury to deal with as well. He was held out of Thursday night’s matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but it appears it was nothing more than a flu bug.
Pittsburgh survived without Malkin, as they topped the Blue Jackets in overtime by a score of 1-0. Malkin should be good to go for the Pens in this one. Joonas Korpisalo stood on his head to keep it a 0-0 game in regulation. The Penguins peppered him with 32 shots, while Tristan Jarry had a lighter work load on the other end of the ice.
Jarry was able to stop all 17 shots, though, as he continues his breakout season. He was selected in the second-round of the 2013 draft and is just beginning to realize his full potential. An unlikely ride to a Vezina may be in his future if he can keep this play up. There shouldn’t be any controversy whatsoever with regards to who the No. 1 in Pittsburgh is. Matt Murray has the brand name, but Jarry is carrying the load between the pipes. It may not matter which direction the Penguins go in net tonight with the Kings in town. Head below for our free Kings vs. Penguins pick.
NHL Stanley Cup Odds Shift Report
L.A. Kings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Penguins Prediction:
The Kings’ back-to-back wins were only the third time this season that they’ve gone on a two-game winning streak. They were able to take advantage of a lazy Rangers team at the Staples Center, and then the Ducks had no excuse for their performance at the Honda Center. The Kings won a rare road game, as they advanced to 3-12-1 away from the Staples Center this season. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Credit Jonathan Quick who has looked much better recently. He was between the pipes for the 3-1 win over the Rangers and 2-1 win in Anaheim.
It’s otherwise been a struggle for the veteran in the crease this season. He enters Pittsburgh with a 3.03 GAA and 0.893 save percentage. His effort against the Ducks was especially a turn against the grain. With Quick not able to find any traction on the road, he looked sharp with 36 saves on 37 saves. He still has to do a recovery effort to get his numbers back on track. Note that Quick has posted a 3.87 GAA and 0.866 save percentage in ten games on the road this season. The rest of his team have not done their part on the road, either.
The Kings are scoring just 2 goals per game in that capacity. Quick has gotten zero goal support, and that was the case again in Anaheim, but fortunately in that instance, he was able to turn back the clock and go vintage Quick on the Ducks. In their previous ten games, they’ve scored 2.2 goals per game, though the defence has looked much better at 2.5 goals against per game. The Penguins have been doing a good job in their own defensive own recently, holding the opposition to no goals in three of their previous five outings.
After a couple of games for the Kings to celebrate, expect them to get back off track on the other side of the country tonight. Any capable offence could have given the Kings a loss in Anaheim. The Ducks haven’t been much better than the Kings this season, though. The Penguins’ offence couldn’t finish anything until overtime on Thursday night, but with Malkin likely back in the lineup that should change. I like a 4-2 win for the Pens at home in Pittsburgh.