NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Coyotes vs. Kings
Published: Clayton Keller. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
- The Coyotes look to extend their modest two-game winning streak against a Kings team playing the second half of a back-to-back.
- Los Angeles is clearly the better side and could use a win to continue its ascent in the Western Conference standings.
- Continue reading for Ryan Dadoun's best bet.
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Coyotes are one of the league’s worst teams, but they have won each of their past two games. Can they maintain that momentum against Los Angeles on Saturday?
The Coyotes and Kings have faced each other twice this season and each has come away with a win, making this the deciding contest in their three-game season series.
If you’re wondering why the Coyotes have a 19-28-8 record, one key reason is their offense — or lack thereof. Clayton Keller has been great with 21 goals and 50 points in 55 contests, but he’s the only player on the team with at least 20 goals or 40 points.
To make matters even worse, offensive defensemen Jakob Chychrun (scratched for trade reasons) and Shayne Gostisbehere (upper body) aren’t expected to play Saturday, removing even more punch from the Coyotes’ attack.
Arizona has a long way to go to even be mediocre offensively, but its defense isn’t any better. The Coyotes expected goals allowed is 209.26, per Moneypuck, which ranks 30th in the league. Arizona’s goaltenders have outperformed the squad’s poor defense, but there’s only so much Karel Vejmelka and Connor Ingram can do.
Every now and they will turn in a performance like Ingram’s 47-save shutout over Tampa Bay on Wednesday or Vejmelka’s 33-save shutout over the Blues on Jan. 26, but the netminding duo is far from perfect and, more often than not, can’t make up for Arizona’s poor defense. In fact, Ingram has surrendered three or more goals in 14 of his 18 outings this season while Vejmelka has allowed at least three markers in 26 of his 38 games.
Los Angeles Kings
Although the Kings have an impressive 30-18-7 record prior to Friday’s action, they’ve also had defensive problems. In fact, the Kings average 3.35 goals allowed through 55 contests, which is only modestly ahead of Arizona’s 3.44.
Los Angeles may have turned a corner in that regard though. Calvin Petersen struggled mightily with a 3.75 GAA and an .868 save percentage in 10 games this season, but he’s been sent to the AHL. Jonathan Quick hasn’t been great either with a 3.41 GAA and an .881 save percentage in 27 games, but he’s been relegated to the backup role. In their place, the Kings have been leaning on Pheonix Copley and while he hasn’t been magical, he’s at least been good enough.
Copley entered Friday’s game with a 2.74 GAA and a .903 save percentage, which was sufficient for a 17-3-1 record thanks to Los Angeles’ strong offense. The Kings were 13th in the league with 3.27 goals per game over their first 55 outings. That’s in part because Los Angeles has the scoring depth Arizona lacks. With two goals and 35 points through 54 contests, Drew Doughty ranks sixth in the Kings’ scoring race. He would be tied for second place with Nick Schmaltz on Arizona.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, they might not have the luxury of “good enough” goaltending Saturday. Copley is expected to start Friday, which sets the stage for him either starting again on no rest Saturday or Quick, who last won on Dec. 1, getting the nod.
Coyotes vs. Kings Pick
Los Angeles is regarded as the heavy favorite Saturday.
It’s not surprising that little faith is given to Arizona given both its track record this season and the fact that both Chychrun and Gostisbehere are expected to be unavailable. Still, with the Kings on the second half of a back-to-back and likely to start Quick, I’m hesitant to bet on Los Angeles.
Instead, I’m going to recommend taking Arizona on the puck line. I’m not confident the Coyotes will beat the Kings, but I think they can at least keep things close against the tired squad.
Pick: Coyotes +1.5 | Play to -140
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