I didn’t have a play last night as there was only one game on the docket, and I bypassed Sunday to focus on football. That takes us back to Saturday to when I had my last pick. There we had the Bruins -1.5 as they took on the Carolina Hurricanes at home. The Bruins won the contest, but failed to cover the 1.5 goal spread due to their 2-1 win. 2-1 was the score following the 1st period and that’s the way the game ended up. I was pretty confident in a 4-1 final at that point, but my confidence certainly started to wane as we got under the 10 minute mark of the 3rd period. I thought perhaps maybe we could have gotten an empty netter, but even that we couldn’t get. For those of you that played the ML instead came out with a winning ticket, but for myself it is a loss. The Bruins are still trying to replicate their productive season from a year ago, but thus far, it has been tough sledding. If there is any time to get hot, that would be late in the season, just ask the Blues last season. So, I am not going to discount the Bruins as contenders yet. I know people like to crown Stanley Cup champs a month into the season, but it usually doesn’t end up playing out like that.
Speaking of Stanley Cup Champions, and to prove my point, the LA Kings in neither of their two Cup runs looked like contenders early on in the season. In fact, it wasn’t really until the playoffs that people were buying into the Kings. Tonight the Kings take on a rather inferior opponent in the Florida Panthers tonight in LA. So far this season, the Kings are in a way, flying under the radar once again. They don’t get any respect, and may have to win another one for people to give them that respect. Think New York Giants. I liken the Kings to the Giants of the NHL, when the Giants were winning Super Bowls that is and had a stout defense. The Kings rode their defense to two Stanley Cup winning seasons as well. And this year I see some of those same elements in their game in 2014. Against an inept offense like the Panthers, we will see tonight if they can flex some of those defensive muscles at home in the Staples Center.
Florida Panthers @ L.A. Kings
If the Kings are going to win the cup it is most definitely going to be from that same defensive recipe that won them their first two. They have a little more offensive firepower on their roster than years past, especially with the addition of Marian Gaborik late last season. But they will live and die with the defense. Last season the Kings finished 1st in the NHL allowing only 2.05 goals per game. This year they are living up to that billing once again, posting a goals against average of 2.11, so not far off from the success they enjoyed a year ago. 2.11 is 5th best in the NHL and have shown consistency to perform on the defensive end the past several years with this core group of players.
The Kings will defend their home ice against a bunch of offensively challenged Panther players. But before I go any further, though, can the NHL please move this team out of Florida for goodness sake. Give Quebec City a team, or heck, even Seattle deserves an NHL team more than where the Panthers are now. Anyway, like I said, Florida has had all kinds of problems scoring the puck. They are 27th in the NHL and are scoring an average of only 2.20 goals a game. Even more, the Panthers haven’t scored a single goal against the Kings in their last two attempts. However, for all of the offensive deficiencies that they have, the defense has been holding up nicely. The Panthers own a top 10 defense, where they are giving up 2.32 goals per game. The Panthers are 9-5 to the UNDER and the Kings are 8-5, which is easy to believe given the data afforded to us. I will go with the UNDER 5 in this one.
Pick – UNDER 5 GOALS (-110) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)