The Dallas Stars and LA Kings unite on Thursday night for another important game for these two teams. The Stars and Kings are currently fringe teams, with the potential for the playoffs or no playoffs hanging in the balance. The Stars are in the playoffs right now, but not by much, as they’re only a point up on the Minnesota Wild and Kings. One small bad move and they’re going to be out. For the Kings, they are in the same boat and can’t afford many missteps.
Without much room between the Stars and Kings, tonight is particularly important for these two clubs. The Stars are out west briefly, making a pitstop in Los Angeles before heading back home for five games. They previously took a 5-2 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. So, they’ve had some time to sit back and dwell on the loss. Is this much time off on the road a good thing, though?
There are more than enough opportunities to get off-track in Los Angeles in four days. For a guy like Tyler Seguin, it’d be fairly easy to get lost in the party scene. However, Seguin has definitely matured in recent years and has taken on much more of a leadership role. In any event, many people see him as a party boy.
Rob Gronkowski is a party boy and the best tight end in the NFL, so it’s not like everyone is a Johnny Manziel and can’t handle the liquor bottle. Seguin has been playing extremely well, so whatever he’s doing, it’s certainly working. He’s scored 29 goals and helped with 22 assists thus far. He’s already surpassed his goal total from last year by 3 goals. It should be a good one tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Head below for our free Stars vs. Kings pick.
Dallas Stars vs. L.A. Kings Pick
The Kings have been looking good of late, earning themselves three straight wins. Those victories came against the Sabres, Blackhawks, and Jets to wrap up a lengthy road trip. The Kings were on the road for seven in a row, as they won four of the seven contests. They finished on a high note with those three in a row, though. Jonathan Quick was sharp in his last outing against the Hawks, as he allowed 1 goal in a 3-1 win. Darcy Kuemper got the call against the Jets and was good enough to earn a 4-3 win. The Kings rank 2nd in the NHL with 2.48 goals allowed per game, so they’ve been finding some of that same formula that made them a contender a few years ago. The offence is 17th with 2.87 goals per game. Although, they’ve been looking good lately, notching 3.2 goals per game in their last ten games.
Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the nod in net, who is actually having a productive year in relief of Ben Bishop. Without the pressure on him, Lehtonen has been stepping up. He owns a 2.27 GAA and 0.92 save percentage for the best numbers of his career, which dates back to 2003 with the Atlanta Thrashers. During his career, Lehtonen has netted a 2.76 GAA and 0.908 save percentage. For the Stars, though, I just don’t like this layoff on the road. It’s too easy to relax and get too comfortable out west. Also, the Stars are just a .500 hockey team on the road this season. I can’t see a blowout by any means, but I see the Kings returning home to a win against the Stars on Thursday night.
PICK: KINGS (-130)