NHL Picks: Kings at Devils Game 5 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/8/2012
I clearly should have known better than to pick the Los Angeles Kings back home in Game 4 to sweep away the New Jersey Devils and end the 2011-12 NHL season.
For one thing, the Kings had lost just twice in these playoffs entering Wednesday’s game and both had come at home with the chance to complete a sweep. In addition, the Devils had never been swept in a best-of-seven playoff series in their history (this is their 43rd series). That 43-series streak is the longest active in the NHL (tied with the Penguins) and second longest in history behind Montreal’s 75 straight. It’s now been 14 years since the last sweep in the Finals. The 14-year gap is by far the longest in Stanley Cup history.
But, in my defense, there were many numbers pointing to a sweep. Los Angeles was the 26th team to take a 3-0 lead in the Finals and just the sixth that failed to complete the sweep. The Kings were the first since the 1981 Islanders. The last eight teams that had the chance to complete a sweep in the Finals had also done so.
Could we see an epic rally from a 3-0 deficit for New Jersey to win the Cup? Only three teams have rallied from that deficit to win a series. One of them was the 1945 Maple Leafs. And the Leafs were one of two teams before the Devils (also 1945 Red Wings) to avoid a sweep by winning Game 4 on the road.
A win Saturday in Game 5 for the Devils sends this series back to L.A. on Monday. A Kings win brings home the first Cup in franchise history, and it would be rather fitting to happen on the road.
Kings at Devils Betting Story Lines
New Jersey got life thanks to rookie Adam Henrique’s goal 15:29 into the third period of Game 4 to break a 1-1 tie. The Devils would add an empty-netter by Ilya Kovalchuk – the leading scorer in the playoffs entering this series hadn’t yet had a point – to win, 3-1. It was just the third time in these playoffs that the opposition managed two consecutive goals on L.A. It was the first time in seven games in this postseason that the Kings lost when they've been tied after two periods.
Those three tallies equaled the amount of goals that New Jersey had in the first three games combined. New Jersey outhit, outshot (although the Kings missed the net on 23 attempts to New Jersey’s 10) and won more faceoffs (for the first time in this series) than the Kings. About the only bad news was that New Jersey allowed its third power-play goal of the series and was 0-for-3 on the man-advantage itself and now 0-for-15 in this series. Kings penalty-killers have allowed just five goals in 72 attempts this spring.
New Jersey also got a boost from two unlikely sources. Coach Peter DeBoer dressed defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who returned to the lineup after being out since Jan. 17 with blood clots in his leg, and forward Petr Sykora, who had been a healthy scratch since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. They played nearly a combined 32 minutes and didn’t have a point but definitely contributed (three shots, two blocks, two hits). Look for the experienced duo to stay in the lineup. New Jersey star Zach Parise twisted his ankle during Game 4 but practiced Friday and will play. He is, after all, a hockey player.
That Game 5 is away from Staples Center is a great thing for the Kings since they have won a record 10 consecutive playoff games this year to set an NHL record (actually 12 counting last year’s playoffs). In the two earlier series in which the Kings failed to complete a sweep at home, they then won Game 5 at Vancouver and at Phoenix – both in overtime.
Look for a big bounce-back from the L.A. No. 1 line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams. The trio combined for just two shots on goal and contributed 10 of the team's 17 giveaways in Game 4.
Kings at Devils Betting Odds and Key Trends
New Jersey opened as the -120 favorite with the total at 4.5 goals on NHL odds. The Kings are 4-0 in their past four games when their opponent allows two or fewer goals in the previous game. New Jersey is 1-5 in its past six after allowing two or fewer goals in the previous game. The ‘under’ is 8-0-1 in the past nine meetings between these teams. The ‘over/under’ is 3-4-3 in Devils’ 11 playoff home games. The O/U is 5-5 in Kings’ 10 road games.
NHL Picks: Kings at Devils Betting Predictions
You want a trend? Here’s a trend: The Devils have played 10 straight games in which the team that has scored first has gone on to win – every game of the Rangers series and all four in the Finals. Ironically, during the Devils-Flyers series, the team that scored first lost all five games. Road teams are 47-37 in these playoffs overall, which has set a record for most away wins in any postseason. The Kings won Games 1 and 2 in this series by a 2-1 score in overtime. I think the score is the same in Game 5 but that New Jersey forces a Game 6.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.
Most Recent Hockey Handicapping
- Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Series Odds and Expert Predictions
- New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes NHL Series Odds and Expert Predictions
- NHL All-Star Game Predictions and Expert Betting Picks
- 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Predictions with Futures Odds
- NHL Division Winner Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- NHL Betting Advice: Value Teams Better than Record
- Expert NHL Handicapping and Betting Advice: Home and Road Splits
- Expert Hockey Betting Advice: Which Team is Poised for Post-Holiday Turnaround?
- NHL Betting Advice for the Best and Worst Teams for Wagering Profits
- 2019 NHL Season Point Totals Predictions