I made three free NHL picks last night but for the first time in a while I suffered a notable loss in a 1-2 night.
The lone winner of the night came in Anaheim where I had the Panthers to beat the Ducks as -128 favorites on the moneyline.
The Ducks opened the scoring, but the Panthers took over from their and scored the next four goals en route to a smooth-sailing 4-1 win.
However, we really needed that one to avoid disaster.
Earlier on I had the Bruins to take out the Oilers in regulation time at -130 odds, but the hometown Oilers hung around in this one.
The Bruins scored a first-period goal that stood up all the way to the third before the Oilers tied it early on a power play marker. Unfortunately for us, those two goals stood as the only two regulation goals and our pick was dead when the final buzzer signalled overtime.
The Bruins remained white-hot however, as David Pastrnak scored the OT winner to give Boston 10 wins in their last 11 contests.
Finally, I took a shot with the Islanders as +141 road underdogs against an injury-ravaged Colorado Avalanche team, however it simply didn’t work out for me.
The Isles scored just one goal in this one and it came late. By that time, the Avs had tallied three goals of their own and they handed the Isles by a 3-1 final.
All told, the 1-2 night cost us 1.30 units, but I’ll simply turn my attention to tonight’s eight-game schedule and look to get back on track!
Season Record: 99-85-1
Now let’s dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Panthers vs. Kings from the Staples Center in Los Angeles!
Panthers vs. Kings Betting Odds
- Panthers (-133)
- Kings (+120)
- Panthers -1.5 (+185)
- Kings +1.5 (-215)
- Over 6 (-106)
- Under 6 (-104)
Panthers vs. Kings NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s check in with each of these clubs before we get into my final pick!
As noted above, this will mark the second game in as many nights for the Panthers as they knocked off the Ducks by a 4-1 count to mark their second straight win to open up this five-game road trip that will take them to Vegas and Arizona after this one tonight.
I mentioned in yesterday’s piece that I expected more offense from the Panthers last night after they broke out of an offensive slump in a 5-3 win over the Sharks on Monday.
To repeat myself, the Panthers scored 1.86 goals per game over a seven-game stretch, but have now scored nine goals over their last two games and should enter this one riding plenty of offensive momentum.
After all, they rank fifth with 3.23 goals per game on the road this season where their power play sits 14th with a decent 18.9% clip.
Although they’ve got their offensive mojo back at this point, the power play is lagging as they’ve gone 0 for 5 over their last two games and actually 0 for 19 over their last seven games.
While offensive was an issue recently until the last two games, defense and goaltending has been an issue for most of the season.
They allowed just one goal last night, but allowed 36 shots on goal. Nonetheless, it brought their goals against per game down, albeit to just 3.23 goals against per game which ranks them 18th on the road.
Their penalty kill hasn’t been all that great on the road, however, ranking 18th with a 77.8% mark.
The Panthers are a solid yet unspectacular possession team on the road this season.
At 5v5 on the road, they rank 11th with a 49.68% Corsi For%, 17th with a 47.55% Scoring Chances For% and 23rd with a 44.76% High-Danger Chances For%.
It also hasn’t helped that they haven’t gotten much at all in goal this season as their .903 Sv% at 5v5 on the road ranks them 28th in the league.
Sergei Bobrovsky was much better in turning aside 35 of 36 Ducks shots for the win last night, but he still owns a 3.31 GAA and .893 Sv% on the road as consistency issues have plagued him all season long.
Whether or not he starts on back-to-back nights, we don’t know as of yet.
If he doesn’t, it would either by Samuel Montembeault getting a rare start or Chris Driedger who travelled west with the club in hopes of returning to action near the end of the trip.
Given the apparent wealth of options, the Panthers’ goaltending situation won’t play a part in my decision for this pick tonight.
The Kings are selling plenty of pieces ahead of the trade deadline and the roster is getting thinner by the day.
It started by sending backup netminder Jack Campbell and gritty forward Kyle Clifford to the Maple Leafs, then it was goal-scoring winger Tyler Toffoli to the Canucks and yesterday they sent long-time defenseman Alec Martinez to the Vegas Golden Knights.
As a result, there are plenty of Kings getting auditions for the future, and a defense that loses Martinez could be in trouble tonight.
The Kings have been better defensively at home than on the road this season and rank 13th with 2.80 goals against per game on home ice this season, however their penalty kill sits way down at 28th with a 76.1% mark on the season.
As a result, the 5v5 defense of L.A. at home has actually been real good at eighth with just 2.22 goals against/60 on the campaign.
Offensively, it’s been a different story and losing an 18-goal man in Toffoli is not going to help.
The Kings enter this one ranked 27th with 2.72 goals per game at home this season and 26th with just a 16.7% clip on the power play at home as well.
The offense has been better of late, however, with 11 goals over their last three games, or 3.67 goals per game over that time.
The power play has been ice cold, however, going 0 for 14 over their last seven games, but the penalty kill has been excellent by posting a 94.7% mark (18 for 19) over their last 10 games.
As a side note, there have been very few penalties called in Kings games of late, apparently.
The Kings actually sport some excellent possession numbers, which may come as a surprise to folks who don’t follow these numbers much.
At 5v5 at home, the Kings rank fifth with a 55.05% Corsi For%, 11th with a 53.27% Scoring Chances For% and eighth with a 54.68% High-Danger Chances For%.
So, why the lack in goal-scoring despite winning the shot and goal-scoring chance share? I’d say their 30th-ranked 6.13% shooting rate at 5v5 and their 28th-ranked 14.20% shooting rate on high-danger chances has done them in offensively.
Like with the Panthers, we don’t know who will get the starting nod for the Kings in goal, but it will be between veteran Jonathan Quick and youngster Cal Petersen who was promoted after the trade of Jack Campbell.
Petersen took the loss in allowing five goals on 34 shots (.853 Sv%) in Winnipeg on Tuesday and Quick was excellent in allowing just one goal on 33 shots (.970 Sv%) in a win against Colorado in the outdoor game his last time out.
As a result, I would lean towards Quick who has been good at home with a 2.58 GAA and .909 Sv% in 18 starts, going 8-9-1 in the process.
It could also be Petersen, however, who has posted a 3.68 GAA and .896 Sv% in three NHL starts this season and was good in allowing three goals on 38 shots (.921 SV%) in a 5-3 win over the Flames in his lone home start of the NHL season.
Petersen posted a real impressive 2.61 GAA and .924 Sv% in 11 NHL appearances last season, but wasn’t very good in the AHL this season where he put together a 3.43 GAA and .906 Sv% in 37 games.
Like with the Panthers, the Kings’ goaltending situation won’t play a part in my pick for this one.
The Kings have been much better at home where they’ve gone 12-12-1 on the season compared to a brutal 9-22-4 on the road.
The Panthers, however, have been slightly better on the road than at home with a 16-12-2 record at home and a 16-10-4 mark on the road, gaining two more points on the road in the same number of games.
To me, the Panthers having won two in a row and scoring nine times in that span is going to present a problem for a Kings team that’s really thinned out of late.
The loss of Toffoli does not help a struggling offense and the loss of a steady presence in Martinez, along with his 21-plus minutes per game on the blueline, hurts the back end.
As a result, I’m going to side with the Panthers here despite the back-to-back scenario at play.
I think they’ve gained confidence at the offensive end while Bobrovsky has allowed just four goals in two games to start this road trip. Even if he doesn’t start, the Panthers have defensive confidence as well at the moment.
Nothing fancy here, but I’m simply going to take the superior team in this one on the moneyline.