NHL Predictions: Rangers at Kings Odds and Picks
by George Monroy - 10/7/2013
The Los Angeles Kings will welcome the New York Rangers to the Staples Center Monday night for the team’s first home game of the year. The Kings and Rangers have not met in nearly two years, since Los Angeles’ home opener during its Stanley Cup title season. The Kings won that overtime matchup, 3-2. This season Los Angeles is again expected to compete for another title and is receiving the fourth-best championship odds in the entire NHL at +1000. Many experts are predicting goalie Jonathan Quick to have a breakout season and regain the dominant form he displayed during the team’s title run after having disappointing campaign last year.
The Rangers, on the other hand, went through a bit of coaching drama during the offseason as they parted ways with former coach John Tortorella and lost NHL legend Mark Messier after he was not chosen to coach the team. New York eventually hired former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who brings a world of experience and success to the team. The Rangers are receiving anywhere from 10/1 to 20/1 title odds depending on the sportsbook. It seems that the oddsmakers are a bit torn as to how good they will actually be.
Rangers at Kings Betting Story Lines
The NHL season is at an extremely early stage in the year as the Kings have played twice while the Rangers have only played in one game. Los Angeles started the season 1-1 with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild and a 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The Rangers started the season with an embarrassing 4-1 road loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, where they allowed Radim Vrbata to net a hat trick against the team. New York has a particularly brutal schedule to start the season as they will play nine straight road games before they finally return home to Madison Square Garden on Oct. 28 against the Montreal Canadiens. The team’s home opener was pushed back nearly a month because of the final stages of a renovation project at the Garden.
The Rangers are expecting forward Ryan Callahan to return from offseason shoulder injury against the Kings, but he will be eased into the lineup as coach Vigneault expects him to start on the team’s third line. The Rangers will be looking to focus on their offense after the team struggled to score during its season opener against the Coyotes. Rich Nash is expected to help carry the scoring load, even though the right winger has been in a bit of a scoring slump dating back to last season.
The Los Angeles Kings will be looking to focus on its defense after allowing five goals during a loss to the Jets on Friday. Jonathan Quick started both games of the season but faced an onslaught of shots against the Winnipeg and was taken out of the game at the beginning of the third period. Los Angeles will put an extra focus on blocking shots and not putting Quick in those compromising positions to begin with.
Rangers at Kings NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
According to Bovada, the Kings are -155 moneyline favorite while the Rangers are receiving +125 moneyline odds. The total on the matchup is five goals, with the “over” as the slight favorite at a -130 vig. The Rangers are a very solid puckline favorite at -235 for taking the 1.5 goals. The Kings are receiving +185 puckline odds for giving up the 1.5 goals. The home team is 4-0 during the last four meetings between those teams, and Los Angeles’ “under” record is 3-0-1 during its last four games played on two days worth of rest. Both teams have given up 12 goals during the first three games of the season but have gone over only once and pushed the other two games.
NHL Predictions: Rangers at Kings Betting Picks
The Rangers are only playing their second game under a new coach and are returning team captain and offensive playmaker Ryan Callahan from a serious shoulder injury that required surgery. This feels like a game where New York is going to struggle to score points. The team might need the beginning part of the season to build some chemistry with its new coach and get a rhythm going with its players. New York is also in the beginning of a brutal nine-game road trip to start the season and could begin to struggle very quickly.
Los Angeles is a very experienced group that can put up points in a hurry and should be able to win this matchup at home. The team will also put a focus on defense and not letting the Rangers score too many goals. The under on five goals at even money feels like a solid value play as well. Home openers can really be a big event for the home team and provide a solid adrenaline boost from the crowd, so there is also some added value on this game turning into a blow out and Los Angeles covering the puckline.
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