The Nashville Predators and LA Kings faceoff at the Staples Center in a meeting of teams that have gotten off to nice starts to the 2015-16 campaign. The Predators have once again gotten off to a hot start to the year and are 7-1-1 heading into tonight against the Kings. Last season it was the same story, but it appeared to me that they peaked way too early and couldn’t maintain the run they had throughout the playoffs. It isn’t like teams should purposely lose games so they hit their peak at the end of the season, but statistically speaking, variance sometimes catches up and they revert backwards. Nevertheless, the Predators have a great team and will have their chances to make a deep playoff run this season. I think it’s pretty easy for the Preds. If Pekka gets red hot come playoff time, which he could easily do, the Predators are going to have to like their chances. When he is on he is on, and right now, Pekka Rinne is on.
The LA Kings are in a state of flux. Are they for real or is this 6-3 start just smoke and mirrors? The Kings did lose some talent in the offseason, so I am still trying to decipher what to make of them. Their last six games on the ice, I will say that they have been for real. The Kings have won six straight after dropping their first three of the season. They will be tested today against the 7-1-1 Predators. I feel like this is the most intriguing game of the day. We might get a better idea if the Kings are for real in this one. It’s a meeting of two of the finest goaltenders in the NHL, Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne. Quick is going to need to carry the Kings all the way this season because I don’t feel like they have the offense to sustain a big run. Saturday afternoon is dominated by college football, but I suggest taking this one in if you’re a puck head.
Nashville Predators vs. L.A. Kings Pick
Like I just alluded to, the Kings have won six straight games. This win streak for the Kings was due in large part to the defense and goaltending. Through six games the Kings let in just 6 goals against. One of those being a shutout and the other four 1 goal allowed in each. The defense has come back hard after dropping 5 and 4 goals against in their first two games. On the season the Kings are allowing 2.00 goals per game. I don’t think they will be able to keep this defensive efficiency going every night, but I also don’t feel like the offense will be able to pick up on nights the defense isn’t playing well. LA is scoring 2.22 goals per game, that will have to improve for them to be the “real” team I was talking about earlier.
Against the Predators goal scoring could be an issue. Rinne has posted a strong 1.74 GAA and as a team they have allowed 1.89 goals against. In their last three games they’ve allowed 1.3 goals on average. The way these defenses have been playing, it seems to make sense that this would be a low scoring game. I will be paying attention to the college football action today mostly, but will have a vested interest in this NHL game as well. It’s the UNDER 5 for me.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-110)