NHL Odds and Prediction: Ducks vs. Kings (April 23)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Quinton Byfield and Sean Durzi
- It's the final I-5 Freeway Faceoff of the year, as the Anaheim Ducks travel north to take on the Los Angeles Kings.
- The Ducks have struggled over the past few months while the Kings are prepping for the playoffs.
- Carol Schram details her best bets for this game below.
Ducks vs. Kings Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
It’s the final I-5 Freeway Faceoff of the year, as the Anaheim Ducks travel north to take on the Los Angeles Kings at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday night.
The Ducks are one week away from hitting the links for the summer, while the Kings are working to tighten their grip on third place in the Pacific Division.
Here’s a look at both teams and your best bet for the game.
Ducks Looking to Finish Strong
Though the Ducks faltered in the second half of the season and saw their own playoff hopes evaporate, the club has moved tangibly closer to a new chapter.
Longtime captain Ryan Getzlaf is playing out his last few games before retirement and new general manager Pat Verbeek got aggressive at the trade deadline. Verbeek moved out veterans and cleared cap space so the rebuild can begin in earnest this summer.
The Ducks have a deep and talented group of youngsters like Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale ready to usher in the next era. Although it helps the team in the long term to finish low in this year’s standings and secure another high draft pick, the current on-ice product leaves something to be desired.
On March 1, the Ducks were five games above .500 and just two points out of a playoff spot. Since then, they’ve gone 4-13-5 and sunk to 22nd place in the 32-team league.
They’ve been a little unlucky. Their expected goals rate of 49.09% at 5-on-5 since March 1 is near the middle of the pack, but their actual scoring rate is just 2.57 goals per game, the third-lowest in the league. Their 3.70 goals against is ninth-worst.
However, recent games have been better. Last week, the Ducks hung with both Florida and Tampa Bay to earn single points on the road in tough markets. They also kept it close on home ice against the Kings in their most recent game last Tuesday — a 2-1 nail-biter which featured strong goaltending on both sides and a game-winning goal from Phillip Danault.
After three days off, the Ducks are heading into a back-to-back set and will also host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz should split those starts, although it’s not yet clear which keeper will get which game.
Just one recent injury item to note: forward Sam Carrick missed Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury. As of Friday, he’s listed as day-to-day.
Kings Looking to Stay Hot
After a bit of a wobble where they lost four of five games in early April, the Kings appear to have righted the ship. They’ve won three straight, giving up just one goal in each contest, and were able to turn up the juice with a pair of third-period insurance goals to comfortable close out the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
As of Friday, Los Angeles sits third in the Pacific Division, five points up on Vegas and seven ahead of Vancouver. However, the Kings have only three regular-season games left to play, including Saturday’s game against the Ducks. Los Angeles still controls its destiny, but it doesn’t have many more opportunities to increase its point total.
Like the Ducks, the Kings started strong after several seasons outside the playoff picture. But the Kings have been able to sustain that success despite season-long issues with injuries on defense.
Now, Drew Doughty, Sean Walker and Mikey Anderson are sidelined, but Todd McLellan has gotten solid work out of his young players and AHL call-ups, including rookies Sean Durzi and Jordan Spence. Add in a couple of Selke-level defensive centers up front in Anze Kopitar and Danault, and the Kings rank sixth with a Corsi For rate of 54.05% at 5-on-5 since March 1, and 10th in expected goals at 52.82%.
The Kings also have the lowest PDO in the league during that time, at .966. That statistic is basically a proxy for luck, where 1.00 is average. Los Angeles probably deserves even better results than it has achieved — a decidedly playoff-worthy 13-8-3 since March 1.
Ducks vs. Kings Pick
The road team has won every game in the series so far this season. Anaheim took a 5-4 shootout victory at Staples Center back in late November, then Los Angeles won 4-1 at the Honda Center in late February and 2-1 earlier this week.
Don’t expect that trend to hold on Saturday night.
The Ducks will be the more rested team, but the Kings are doing a good job of fine-tuning their game for the playoffs. They’ll also be looking to add another two points to their total before sitting idle for three days.
The oddmakers also see Los Angeles as the heavy favorite, leaving very limited value for bettors on the moneyline.
But, as the Kings showed against Chicago on Thursday, their current goal is to make sure they put opponents away, rather than just hanging on for a one-goal win.
A puck line play looks promising on Saturday night.
Pick: Kings puck line (+105); play down to -115
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