A pair of West Division rivals will face off on Friday night when the Blues skate into Los Angeles to take on the Kings. Let’s analyze this matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!
St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings
Friday, March 5, 2021 – 9:00 PM ET at Staples Center
The Blues are picking up momentum after dropping three straight at home to the Sharks and the Kings (twice). Since then, St. Louis has hit the highway and the results have been just what the doctor ordered with a win over San Jose and then a double-dipper against the Ducks in Anaheim.
Entering tonight’s game, the Blues sit in second place in the West, trailing the Golden Knights by just a point. In their last outing on Wednesday night, St. Louis’ anemic power-play unit caught fire and converted on all three of their man-advantaged situations with Oskar Sundqvist, Brayden Schenn, and Zach Sanford all lighting the lamp for the Blues in their 3-2 win over Anaheim.
Jordan Binnington was back between the pipes on Wednesday and was sharp in turning aside 27 of 29 shots in the win over the Ducks. The 27-year-old was pulled in the first game of this current road trip after allowing four goals on 19 shots and went after several Sharks before exiting the game. Backup Ville Husso would come on in relief and hold down the fort in a come-from-behind 7-6 St. Louis victory on Sunday.
Coach Berube decided to give Binnington a breather in the following game after his uncharacteristic outburst in the previous game and Husso picked up a 5-4 win against Anaheim on Monday night.
Kings Getting Crowned
It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Kings with more valleys than peaks, and right now they are desperately trying to shake off the funk of a three-game skid after winning six straight. LA allowed only 1.16 goals per game during that six-game stretch but has allowed 3.33 goals per game over their current slide.
After defeating the Coyotes in two consecutive games on Phoenix’s home ice just a few weeks earlier, the Kings bowed 3-2 on Wednesday, victimized by a pair of power-play goals.
“Obviously our penalty kill let us down tonight,” coach Todd MacLellan said. “We made two critical mistakes, and they capitalized on the mistakes that we saw last year in our penalty kill. We think we’ve corrected them, and they’re creeping back in, so we’ve got work to do there.”
It should be noted that the Kings outshot the Coyotes, 42-23, and had a big edge in faceoffs, winning 30 of 48 draws.
Wanna Make a Bet?
It’s hard not to notice the Blues’ gaudy record away from the Enterprise Center, having won nine of 11 on the highway, which makes them the second-best road team in the league, with the Maple Leafs holding the top spot at 9-1-1.
However, we should also note that the Blues have lost three of four this season to the Kings, but all of those games were held in St. Louis where they are a disappointing 4-6-2 at the Enterprise Center. It’s a bit ironic giving a checkmark to the road team based on the venue but the numbers don’t lie.
Speaking of numbers, the early NHL odds on this game over at SugarHouse reveal the Blues as -120 chalk and that’s not all that surprising considering they have been such a dominant force away from home this year. But just because they have been beasts on the road this season doesn’t mean we blindly tail them. We have to consider the Kings’ domination over the Blues, having won their last three meetings this season and outscoring them 11-4 in those contests.
St. Louis is 1-4 in their last five Friday games and if LA’s goalie rotation remains intact, I believe we will be seeing Calvin Petersen tending the twine for the Kings. That would be a big boon to LA’s defense because Petersen has been outplaying Jonathan Quick this season. You might also recall he was superb in the last game played between these clubs when he stopped 35 of 36 shots in LA’s 2-1 win over St. Louis on February 24th.
As good as the Blues have been on the road, that won’t last forever and the Kings match up well against St. Louis. This is a good spot to bet the sharp side without laying a nickel in vig – take the Kings on Friday night.
Free NHL Pick: Kings +100 at SugarHouse