NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Kings vs. Canucks (Dec. 6)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Kings vs. Canucks (Dec. 6) article feature image
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Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Thatcher Demko.

  • Vancouver starts a new era on Monday night against Los Angeles
  • Bruce Boudreau will coach his first came for the Canucks following their midseason coaching change.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Kings vs. Canucks Odds

Kings Odds +115
Canucks Odds -135
Over/Under 5.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Vancouver will take the ice for the first time under new coach Bruce Boudreau, looking to bounce back after a thorough home defeat Saturday, falling 4-1 to the Penguins.

Los Angeles heads in looking to build off of a very strong effort in Edmonton, a 5-1 victory after a flurry of garbage-time goals followed a Connor McDavid major penalty late in the third.

Canucks Begin Life Under Boudreau

Frustration boiled over for Canucks fans during the third period of Saturday’s loss, resulting in chants to fire general manager Jim Benning.

The result ultimately did not lead to the firing of Jim Benning, but instead a dismissal of coach Travis Green. The move could certainly work out, as I believe Bruce Boudreau has been a quietly brilliant coach who takes unfair heat for a number of close playoff losses.

However the greater issue appears more to do with the roster, as Green’s defensive options provided by Benning are simply not likely to succeed at the NHL level. Benning’s cap management and pro signings have proven to be below an acceptable standard, and they have ruined the potential of a lineup featuring a number of great young talents.

The Canucks have controlled play to an expected goals rate of 52.48 the last seven contests, but they have skated to just a 2-5-0 record over that time with some tough losses.

The penalty kill continues to be dreadful, at just 64.6%, and it will be the number one concern for Boudreau as he looks to get this team moving in the right direction.

Goaltender Thatcher Demko hasn’t been a concern, however, and surely Boudreau will give him the start to begin his tenure.

Demko holds modest numbers with a .908 save % and -0.3 GSAx rating.

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Kings Should Be Moving In Right Direction Soon

With Drew Doughty back in the lineup, and some other recent positives to look towards, Todd McLellan’s group could be moving in the right direction, although a 1-1-1 record since Doughty’s return appears middling.

Viktor Arvidsson continues to post very strong results as he finds his legs after a stint with COVID, which has been crucial for a team that has produced the league’s 25th best goals for per game mark this season.

Jonathon Quick continues to enjoy quite a bounce-back year in goal, stopping 21 of 22 shots Sunday night en route to a 5-1 win, but he will be given a night off in favor of backup Cal Petersen here.

Petersen has been somewhat better than his overall numbers suggest throughout ten starts this season, with an .896 save percentage and a -1.2 goals saved above expected rating, both greatly soured by a seven-goal outing in St. Louis.

Kings vs. Canucks Pick

The Canucks have played a lot of low-event, tighter contests of late,  with games averaging 4.75 goals over their last eight games. We likely could have seen an even lower number Saturday, barring two five-on-three Penguins goals, and nothing about their playing style is likely to change drastically overnight with the coaching change.

The defensive depth is clearly the Canucks’ greatest weakness, but mainly in that a number of pieces are awful at driving play up the ice and helping to create offensively. The team has tried to play a very simple and safe game of late.

Thatcher Demko is still clearly in very strong form to those who have watched this team closely all season, more so than his numbers suggest, and I think he will see favorable regression, specifically if the Canucks can manage the catastrophic breakdowns we have seen regularly from their penalty kill, which is simply unlikely to be this awful all season long.

I think that there’s a good chance the Canucks hold the Kings to a lower total here, however, as we have seen much of this season, they are having a very tough time generating offence. I would expect Boudreau, however, to create somewhat of an uptick.

That task won’t get any easier against a Kings team that has allowed the 13th lowest opposition output this season and was very sound defensively in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Oilers.

I lean towards a Canucks result here, but -135 seems just about fair, and I see more value in backing the total to go under 5.5 at -103. I would play it down to -120.

Pick: Under 5.5 -103 | Play to -120

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