Red Wings at Kings Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 2/27/2013
The Los Angeles Kings appeared to suffer a bit of a Stanley Cup hangover when this season started despite the fact it began a few months later than normal because of the lockout. However, the Kings now look to be snapping out of things and are starting to resemble their championship selves as they welcome Detroit to the Staples Center for the only time this season on Wednesday night.
One big thing working against both the Wings and the Kings for their Cup hopes is that they happen to reside in the Western Conference where the Chicago Blackhawks look pretty unbeatable. The Hawks, who upped their NHL record Monday with at least a point in 19 straight games to start the season, are +200 favorites to win the West on Sportsbook.ag, while the Kings are +700 to repeat and Detroit is +1500.
Red Wings at Kings Betting Story Lines
Both these teams enter off arguably their best game of the season. Detroit blasted Vancouver and what had been impenetrable Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, 8-3, on Sunday. Damien Brunner led Detroit with two goals and two assists for his first multi-point game in the NHL. Luongo had led the NHL in goals-against average and hadn’t lost in regulation all season in stealing back his No. 1 job from Cory Schneider. Henrik Zetterberg had his first goal in 11 games for Detroit (that streak began after a hat trick on Feb. 1 vs. St. Louis), and defenseman Niklas Kronwall had his second straight three-point game.
Wings backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson was supposed to start against Vancouver to give No. 1 Jimmy Howard a night off, but Gustavsson’s groin injury that has bothered him all year flared up again. Howard should be good to start again tonight with two days off. Brunner, meanwhile, has been one of the great stories in the league. The Wings always have been arguably the top franchise in European scouting (current stars Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk just to name two), and Brunner is the latest example. The 26-year-old rookie can’t win the Calder Trophy because he played professionally in Sweden, but he leads the team and is tied for seventh in the NHL with 10 goals (through Monday) – the most of any rookie.
The Wings are a bit banged up. Winger Mikael Samuelsson has played in just three games due to a fractured finger and won’t be back for at least a couple of weeks. Todd Bertuzzi has been limited to seven games with a back problem, and he won’t be back this week. Defenseman Kyle Quincey missed his second straight game Sunday with a sprained ankle and is day-to-day. The big loss has been forward Johan Franzen. He had nine points in 12 games before going out with a hip injury. He’s also not expected back quite yet. Franzen is a beast on the power play, which has been a problem for the Wings. It ranks 18th, and that number improved only after Detroit had three power-play goals against Vancouver.
The Kings slowed their neighbors, the streaking Ducks, 5-2 on Monday night to end the Ducks’ six-game winning streak and hand Anaheim rookie netminder Viktor Fasth his first loss. Dustin Penner, a former 30-goal scorer, found the net for the first time this season for L.A., while Anze Kopitar had three assists. He leads the team with 15 points. Jeff Carter had a goal for the fourth straight game. The Kings have won four straight thanks largely to reigning Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick. He actually had been outplayed by backup Jonathan Bernier, but Quick has now won three straight and allowed four total goals in that stretch. It’s not clear as of this writing if Quick (who has started the last two) or Bernier (who also has won three straight) will start this one.
Detroit won the first meeting this season, 3-2, at home. It was one of the better games so far. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez tied the score with 52.8 seconds left in regulation, but Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson beat Quick off a faceoff with 4.5 seconds remaining for the win. Howard had a season-high 45 saves for Detroit.
Red Wings at Kings NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BookMaker, Los Angeles has been opened at -155 and Detroit +135 with the total at 5. The Wings are 10-7-2 “over/under” this season (5-1-1 on road) and the Kings are 5-7-5 O/U (2-2-2 at home). Detroit is 2-2 in its past four as a dog. L.A. has won four in a row as a favorite.
Detroit is 5-2 in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The Wings are 0-5 in their last five games when their opponent scores at least five goals in its previous game. L.A. is 4-1 in its past five home games. The over is 4-0 in Detroit’s past four against teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1-1 in the Wings’ past six after a win. The over has hit just once in the past nine games for L.A. The home team has won the past four meetings. The over has hit in the past five.
Red Wings at Kings Picks and Betting Predictions
The Kings might be ready to really take off as they have played just six home games, the fewest in the NHL. Thus, their schedule will be pretty friendly the rest of the way. The Wings are in the opposite boat in having played only seven road games. This is the first of five cross-country trips in the next eight weeks.
In the last four seasons, the Red Wings are 11-9-4 on the road in California. But, dating to last year, the Wings haven’t been a very good road team, and I think the Kings are finding their groove and will start climbing up the West standings. Take L.A. and the under.
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