Saturday NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction | LA Kings vs Nashville Predators
Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8).
- The Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators are both highly motivated to secure playoff berths entering Saturday's NHL matchup.
- The two teams are nearly mirror images of one another: Boasting competent offenses, suspect defenses and overly-strained goalkeepers.
- NHL betting analyst Grant White preiviews Saturday's game, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Kings vs. Predators at 8 p.m. ET.
Kings vs Predators Odds
|6 (-112o / -108u)
|8 p.m. ET
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.
The Los Angeles Kings' grip on an NHL playoff spot is slipping as they approach the All-Star break.
Just a few weeks ago, LA was comfortably in second in the Pacific Division. But, teams behind Los Angeles in the standings have amplified their play and closed the gap on the Kings.
The Nashville Predators are chasing a playoff berth but sit a few points back of the final wild card spot. A win by the Predators could be a massive four-point swing, extending the Kings' collapse while inching Nashville closer to the coveted top eight.
Los Angeles Kings
Despite impressive underlying metrics, the Kings have dropped two consecutive games — that makes four losses in the last eight games.
LA out-chanced its opponents in both contests, with a cumulative 27 high-danger chances and 55 scoring chances, while allowing 17 and 44, respectively.
Still, those offensive performances haven't been enough to offset the Kings' goaltending woes. Jonathan Quick and Pheonix Copley have combined to stop 82.7% of shots during the modest two-game sample, extending a downturn in their performances.
The duo has posted save percentages below 85.6% in five of its previous nine, with a cumulative 86.8% standard during that stretch. Consequently, the Kings' team save percentage has dropped to a season-long average of 88.1% — the third-lowest rate in the NHL.
Given LA's ineffective defensive play, it is likely that the team's goaltending struggles will continue. The Kings have allowed 10 or more high-danger chances in three of their past four games, yielding six high-danger goals against at five-on-five.
Those issues will be compounded by playing on the road for the first time in two weeks, as the Predators line match to get their superstars more offensive zone time.
The Predators' recent efforts are analogous to the Kings'.
Nashville has been effective at creating chances, but the increased production has come at the expense of defensive structure, resulting in more goals against.
Like the Kings, Nashville's goalies have not responded well to the increased pressure, resulting in a deflated save percentage.
Opponents have forced the Predators to chase the puck — attempting 10 or more quality opportunities in five of their last six games, with a running average of 10.2 high-danger chances per game. There's also been an abundance of scoring opportunities: Opponents have averaged 25.6 during the same timespan.
Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen weathered the storm earlier in the season, but they have fallen apart in the last four games. The Preds' goalies have allowed a save percentage below 85.0% in all but one of those contests, with a combined 89.3% rating.
Predictably, those metrics have combined for some high-scoring affairs, with Nashville going over in three of their last five.
Scheduling could contribute to another sloppy outing, as the Predators play their fourth game in six nights and fifth since last Saturday.
As noted, the Kings are no offensive slouches and could extend Nashville's current misery.
Kings vs Predators Picks
These teams deserve each other.
Both teams are struggling defensively but have summoned solid offensive performances throughout the season.
Thus, I recommend two bets for Saturday's Western Conference matchup:
First, we anticipate a high-scoring game as both teams maintain their current form with an emphasis on offense.
Second, as the betting line implies, these teams are evenly matched. Points will come at a premium as the Preds and Kings strive to maintain playoff aspirations.
Therefore, we're betting that it takes longer than 60 minutes to determine a winner.
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