As we enter a new week in the NHL, the playoff race is starting to heat up with teams vying for a spot in the grandest tournament in hockey. It’s tight and may continue to be tight down to the last day of the regular season. The Kings are currently in a three-way tie with the Stars and Ducks with 84 points. Not far behind are the Blues with 83 points, and then you have the Avalanche with 86 points. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Stars would be the odd team out, as the Kings and Ducks barely get in.
With a few weeks left in the regular season, the standings right now may look a lot different then. The Wild are 5 points up on that group, which seems like a sizable cushion considering the bottleneck behind them. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long to slide down the standings. Just ask the Carolina Hurricanes who were here yesterday and gone tomorrow.
The Wild are coming off a couple of wins in the desert, defeating the Golden Knights and Coyotes. It can be tricky heading down there, as many teams have learnt, but the Wild handled it well. They didn’t fall into the trap game after beating Vegas by a score of 4-2. There’s the Vegas flu and then there is the Vegas hangover. The wild managed to avoid both and come out of the desert with 4 important points. The Kings are on the road for the next four games, a critical stretch for them as they hope to stay in the mix as well. Head below for our free Kings vs. Wild pick on Monday in the NHL.
L.A. Kings vs. Minnesota Wild Pick
We’ve found out before, all it can take is a ticket to the playoffs for the Kings to go far. The Kings went 40-27-15 in 2011-12 to take the final seed of the playoffs. In fact, they had to win their final game of the regular season to squeeze in. The ensuing result was a Stanley Cup for the Kings, and the first 8th seed to win since the new playoff format was introduced in 1994. In other words, the Kings don’t need to be reminded of what they can do with a lower seed. They enter Monday with a record of 39-27-5, so nearly in line with 2011-12. The Kings are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Devils. It’s been since March 8th that we’ve seen them beat a quality opponent. The Wings and Canucks don’t count, but a 3-1 win over the Capitals is a nice win.
Elite play on defence has been difficult to find in this offensive heavy year, but the Kings are going to be the 2nd best team you will find. They are allowing 2.5 goals per game, trailing only the Nashville Predators. They catch a Wild team who have averaged 3.6 goals per game across their last ten. While guaranteeing a place in the playoffs is priority number 1, it’s going to be dangerous if they get home ice advantage for one of two rounds. The Wild have been tough to match at home, with an impressive mark of 24-6-5. L.A. haven’t won in Minnesota since November of 2014, as the Wild have topped them in four straight. It’s hard to pick against the Wild in this one.
PICK: WILD (-140)