This pick marks pick number three of three on this nine-game NHL schedule and in case you missed the first two, I’ll touch briefly on my winner from last night.
I stayed white-hot with my free NHL picks in the matchup between the Senators and Hurricanes from Raleigh. I had the Hurricanes -1.5 on the puckline and a 5-0 lead late in the second period was just what the doctor ordered. The end result was a dominating 8-2 victory for the home side and a winner at +103 as a result.
Season Record: 18-9
Now, let’s turn to my third and final pick of the night featuring the Wild vs. Kings from the Staples Center in Los Angeles!
Wild vs. Kings Betting Odds
- Wild (-110)
- Kings (+100)
- Over 6.0 (-104)
- Under 6.0 (-106)
Wild vs. Kings NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at both of these clubs before delivering my final pick!
A tough season last year preceded an uneventful offseason and a sluggish start to the 2019-20 season for the Minnesota Wild.
In the Western Conference, only these Los Angeles Kings have been worse as the Wild carry a 6-10-1 record into action to go along with a dreadful 3-9-0 mark. It’s certainly been a road-heavy schedule so far for Bruce Boudreau’s club and the team likely can’t wait for a steady diet of home games considering their 3-1-1 record at the Xcel Energy Center.
The problems have been wide-spanding, especially on the road. Minnesota’s 2.71 goals per game this season ranks 23rd and their 2.25 goals per game on the road checks in at 25th. The good news of late has been the fact their offense has found a little life as they have averaged 4.33 goals per game over their last three and have come away with two wins in that time – both coming on the road.
However, their defense has also largely let them down. Usually the team’s trademark, the Wild have struggled on the back end to the tune of a 3.53 goals against per game this season, tied for 26th alongside the Florida Panthers. Furthermore their 3.75 goals against per game on the road ranks 25th and they have been outscored by an average of 1.50 goals per game on the road as well.
With goals against numbers that poor comes poor goaltending as well. The Wild rank 26th with an .885 Sv% on the season between Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock while their .878 Sv% on the road ranks 29th.
After Stalock was pulled in a 6-5 loss to the Sharks last week, Dubnyk went into Arizona and helped net the Wild an upset 4-3 win in part thanks to his 32 saves on 35 shots against (.914 Sv%). As a result, I would expect Dubnyk to get the nod in this one tonight. He enters play sporting a 3.57 GAA and .887 Sv% on the season but has actually been slightly better on the road despite still owning a 3.36 GAA and .894 Sv% in such situations.
The Kings, to me, are a little bit of a mystery.
On one hand, they are a positive possession team with a 51.70% Corsi For% at 5v5 play this season – good for the ninth-best mark in the league. Their 35.6 shots per game this season is the most in the NHL and they are outshooting clubs by an average of 5.7 shots per game – the second-best mark in the game behind the Flyers and their 5.8 mark.
On the other hand, their record is the worst in the NHL at this point. They haven’t been able to capitalize on their high shot volume with just 2.53 goals per game (28th) on the season while they are surrendering 3.88 goals per game – the worst mark in the NHL. It’s also quite the turnaround for a Kings team that built its Stanley Cup winners on defense.
A big piece of those Cup-winning seasons was Jonathan Quick who has struggled for health and consistency in recent years. Quick owns a terrible 4.27 GAA and .866 Sv% on the season, although he’s been a little better at home with a still-poor 3.67 GAA and .899 Sv% across three home starts. Quick, however, is coming off a solid start against the Canadiens in which he posted a .919 Sv% in stopping 34 of 37 shots in a tough-luck 3-2 loss to the Canadiens on Saturday.
There isn’t a confirmed starter on either side yet, which means Jack Campbell could also get the nod tonight. Campbell posted a strong 2.30 GAA and .928 Sv% in 31 appearances last year, but he too has flopped this year to the tune of a 3.11 GAA and .886 Sv% in seven starts. He owns an improved 2.72 GAA and .895 Sv% in four home starts and most recently stopped 30 of 33 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Senators last Thursday.
Quick and Campbell have alternated starts over the last two weeks, so I would suggest that Campbell does indeed get the start in this one and he is the goaltender I trust more at this point for the Kings.
Needless to say, this is a battle of futility tonight and certainly one that doesn’t scream must-see TV, but I am liking one pick and I’m looking at the total here.
We’re still seeing some bloated goals for/against numbers across the NHL from the October scoring binge – one that largely didn’t include these two clubs from an offensive standpoint. However, I don’t expect this Wild team to allow 3.75 goals per game on the road much longer and the Kings to continue to surrender 3.88 goals per game, especially not while winning the possession battle.
Goaltending on both sides has stunk, there’s little doubt about that. However, Dubnyk is the likely Wild starter coming in off a solid road effort and Campbell has been the better of the Kings’ netminders this season. As a result, I think goals are kept to a minimum tonight.
The Wild remain one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams both overall and especially on the road while the Kings have also struggled to produce offense overall and their home offense ranks 26th. Their home power play ranks 29th and the Wild’s road penalty kill actually sits at a decent 16th. Minnesota’s road power play ranks 24th, but the Kings’ last-ranked home penalty kill will need to improve.
Still, ff either team can get any sort of goaltending tonight I like my chances at the under in this one. It’s been a lot of travelling for this Wild team and the Kings just did some travelling themselves on a three-road eastern swing. Give me the under in a low-scoring affair tonight from Hollywood.