Kings at Blues Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Dave Schwab - 2/11/2013
In a rematch of last season’s Western Conference semifinals, the Los Angeles Kings face off against the St. Louis Blues this Monday night at the Scottrade Center. The game is scheduled to get underway at 8 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
The defending Stanley Cup champs continue to struggle with just one win in their last five games. Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Detroit as -104 road favorites dropped the Kings to 3-5-2 on the year and tied for last in the Western Conference with just eight points. The total has gone an even 2-2-2 in their last six games.
The Blues are seventh in the West with 13 points after a 6-4-1 start. They come into this matchup riding a four-game losing streak, which includes this past Saturday’s wild 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim as -184 home favorites. The total has gone “over” in all four of those losses.
Kings at Blues Betting Storylines
The form that carried Los Angeles all the way to the title last season is all but gone with a goals-per-game average of 2.1 to complement a defense that is ranked 21st in goals allowed in giving-up an average of 3.0 a game. It has been horrible on the power play with a conversion rate of just 10.9 percent and below average killing them off with a 79.5 percent kill rate. During this current four-game slide, the Kings have been outscored 22-10.
Anze Kopitar has been responsible for the majority of the production on offense with four goals and four assists. Jeff Carter also has four goals and Dustin Brown has three, but after that the team has just one other player with multiple goals this season. The main drop off has been the play of Jonathan Quick in goal. He has lacked the consistency that earned him last season’s MVP award in the playoffs. He comes into this game with a goals-against-average of 2.70 and a .891 save percentage.
St. Louis is hoping to get a boost from the return of goalie Jaroslav Halak, who missed the past few games with a groin strain. He could end up being the difference in this contest after posting a 2.1 GAA in five previous outings to go along with a save percentage .889. If for some reason he cannot go, look for Jake Allen to make his first career start in goal as head coach Ken Hitchcock appears to have lost faith in Brian Elliott.
Overall, the Blues are ranked third in the NHL in scoring with an average of 3.4 points a game, but Elliott’s struggles between the pipes have contributed to a 3.2 team GAA that is ranked 24th in the league. Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the team’s top goal scorers with five, and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk leads in total points with one goal and 11 assists. Overall, St. Louis has 10 different players with at least two goals so far.
Kings at Blues NHL Betting Odds and Trends
The Kings are 2-6 in their last eight road games and 1-4 in their last five games against the Central Division. The total has gone “over” in three of their last five games on the road.
The Blues are just 1-5 in their last six games against the Pacific Division but 35-16 in their last 51 home games. The total has gone over in five of their last six games on one day’s rest.
Los Angeles is a perfect 5-0 in the last five meetings, but that includes a four-game sweep in last year’s playoffs. The total has stayed under in eight of the last 11 meetings.
Kings at Blues Picks and Betting Predictions
The Blues come into this first matchup against the Kings this season with the memory of last season’s sweep still pretty fresh and plenty painful. They now have a golden opportunity to turn the tables on a Los Angeles’ team that is really struggling to find its form. With Halak back in net, it should not even be close as St. Louis rolls to a two- or three-goal victory.
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