The LA Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins clash in Pittsburgh Friday night in a meeting of teams who have each had the opportunity to hoist Lord Stanley this past decade. The Kings again came into this season playing in a sort of underdog role, with many thinking their time as being a contender was going to end this season. There is still a long ways to go but they have been playing way better than expected. The Kings enter with a 18-8 record and have looked like one of the better teams in the NHL. A lot of things have gone right in LA this season, who thanks to the Lakers demise, have been able to spend more time in the spotlight in Los Angeles. There is the Clippers too, but they don’t have a championship unlike the Kings. I priced tickets to a Kings game while I was out there last season and people are going to games, because they were more expensive than I thought they were going to be.
Tonight we are out on the east coast, though. Much has been made about the struggles for the Penguins this season. I wonder, though, are they really struggling as much as the media has let on? The Pens are 15-10-1, they have been better before this early in the season, but lets hold back on this team. Not only the team, but Sidney Crosby has been made out to look like a bad player, according to the media. He hasn’t looked his best, we’ve seen him playing much better hockey but I’m going to wait until January before I start wondering what is up with him. He enters with 6 goals and 13 assists on the year, way off his average pace. This is a rematch from Saturday in LA, where the Kings took it 5-3. It’s sort of similar to our pick from last night, as the Blackhawks and Predators recently played and played against soon after. That series went for a split, the Penguins are looking for that tonight. The Kings have been red hot compiling five wins in a row. The Penguins have gone 5-5 in their last ten. I give the pick below for Friday night.
L.A. Kings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Pick
The Kings started their east coast road trip out with a come from behind victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They had to fight for that win, as they needed a late goal to send the thing into overtime, where the Kings ultimately took it by a score of 3-2. Defensively the Kings have looked superb, allowing only 2.07 goals per game for one of the best marks in the league. The Penguins have relied on their defense too this season. Because the offense has just been playing bad hockey. If it wasn’t for their defense helping Crosby find himself, it would be a rough year in Pittsburgh. The Pens are allowing 2.33 goals per game while scoring 2.37. The drop off is quite significant, because the Penguins are a team that always ranked near the top of the league in goal scoring, at least in the Sidney Crosby era.
Looking at this game the winner might look easy. The Kings are the hot team, the Penguins look like they’re influx, and the Kings just beat the Pens. A lot could have been said about the Blackhawks last night as well and they didn’t come through. After five straight wins for the Kings and coming into their second game on their road trip, this looks like a perfect spot for them to have a letdown. The Penguins were able to beat the Avs in their last game of their four game road excursion. I think they take that momentum back home with them to play the Kings. I will take the Penguins.
PICK: PENGUINS TO WIN -105