Kings vs. Golden Knights Picks
By Rock Westfall
The Los Angeles Kings enjoyed an early sugar rush of a new head coach to bust out of the gate with a very successful start. John Stevens emphasized a freer flowing offensive approach than predecessor Darryl Sutter, but now the reality of the Kings roster has caught up with them. Their lack of offense cannot be covered up for and they are back to the reality of what they always were and that is the same one dimensional defensively oriented team that they were under Sutter. The Vegas Golden Knights are the sensation of the hockey nation and the first-year expansion team has the league’s best record. Almost as important is that they play a high scoring attack style that entertains. The Golden Knights host the Kings on Tuesday
Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
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Kings vs. Golden Knights TV Coverage: NBCSN
Los Angeles peaked on January 2 when they were 24-11-5 and looked like a guarantee to make for the playoffs with home ice advantage. Their collapse since then has been breathtaking. Gamblers backing LA have drowned in red ink for the last two months. LA is in an eight team race for the final five Western Conference playoff spots. Just six points separate those eight clubs in the standings.
There is no doubt that center Jeff Carter’s four month absence due to injury was a factor in the Kings woes. But the fact that LA was highly profitable for the first month and a half that Carter was out can’t be ignored. Carter has returned to the lineup, but will it be enough? Many NHL insiders believe that the Kings offensive woes under Sutter were never really addressed.
The Kings have been under water lately. In their last eight games they have lost five times. They have been a decent value on the road with a mark of 19-13-2. Just 14 of LA’s 34 away games have gone over the total.
In their first season of existence, Vegas is in the President’s Trophy hunt for best regular season record in the NHL. The Golden Knights remain in great form with six wins in their last eight games. Home ice has been a big advantage for Vegas. The Golden Knights are an astounding 24-5-1-1 at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas paid half a billion dollars to join the NHL. To its credit the league offered them good players in the expansion draft.
Vegas boasts one of the best power plays in the NHL with a ranking of fifth. Comparatively the Kings rank a disappointing 17th for the power play. This matchup’s Power play comparison is indicative of team’s respective strengths and weaknesses. The fresh approach of Stevens has worn off. The Kings traditional scoring problems that doomed Sutter remain. Power play efficiency is a big reason for the Golden Knights amazing success.
Marc Andre Fleury has had to fill the void for Vegas due to Malcolm Subban’s injury. Subban is out indefinitely due to an upper body issue. Fleury has a stellar save percentage of .930 with a 2.13 goals against average. Maxime Legace has struggled in Subban’s place as backup. Legace has a weak .872 save percentage and 3.79 goals against average. Thus, Fleury is carrying a heavy workload.
For the Kings starter Jonathan Quick and backup Darcy Kuemper are among the top tandems in the game. Quick has a save percentage of .921 with a 2.46 goals against average in 48 games. Kuemper’s save percentage is an even better .932 with a 2.10 goals against average in 19 games.
Vegas is defying all laws of gravity and expectations for an expansion team. Beyond being a President’s Trophy contender they also rank second in the NHL for goal scoring. In comparison slumping Los Angeles is 18th in the league for goals scored.
Kings vs. Golden Knights Free Picks
Vegas scored a 4-2 win in their only previous home game against LA on November 19. There is no reason to expect anything different in this one. The Golden Knights have developed a true four line team that relentlessly attacks in wave after wave. The scoring depth of Vegas cannot be matched by the Kings.
Kings vs. Golden Knights Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Kings vs. Golden Knights Score Prediction: Golden Knights 5, Kings 2