Sunday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Los Angeles Kings vs. New Jersey Devils
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: Anze Kopitar.
- New Jersey finishes a back-to-back by hosting Los Angeles Sunday night.
- The Kings are -130 favorites as they hope to end a three-game losing streak.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Kings vs. Devils Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Los Angeles’ wildly streaky year has continued of late, with three straight losses following a four-game winning streak. It will have a great opportunity to bounce back, facing a Devils team currently sitting in the basement of the Eastern Conference, with a -25 goal differential and playing the backend of a back-to-back.
Can Los Angeles take advantage of this favorable scheduling spot and snap its losing skid against the Devils?
Streaky Kings Look To End Losing Stretch
The state of the developing young Kings has been altogether very promising, even if a number of losing streaks have stretched on a little too long.
Los Angeles will look to avoid its third losing streak of four or more games here, in a matchup which should be very favorable for the Kings.
At its best, this team plays a sharp and organized game with a heavy forecheck. It does a good job of making the opposition work for chances.
Over the last 11 games the Kings hold the league’s third highest xGF% at 58.0. They’ve done a great job of limiting the opposition to an xGF/60 rate of just 2.40, while generating a strong 3.32 xGF/60 rate at the other end.
Some of their key forwards do hold less true scoring ability than the average top-six players in this league, but that certainly doesn’t make it all fun to play against guys like Philipp Danault and Viktor Arvidsson, who are wildly strong at controlling the run of play at 5-on-5.
The Kings’ top defensive pairing of Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson continue to dominate, with a 59.1 xGF% throughout 345.9 minutes together. They possibly will draw the Hughes-Bratt assignment here.
Jonathan Quick has done very well in goal, behind the Kings’ strong defensive play, with a +13.9 goals saved above expected rating with a .914 save % throughout 25 games played. He should draw the start here.
Devils Defense Has Been A Liability
The Devils continue to allow a high number of goals against this season, and when you look at the pieces being forced into big minutes and the play seen from the team’s goaltending options, it’s not an overly large surprise.
Even with Dougie Hamilton in the lineup, the defensive play was far from strong. Now with him and Ty Smith out, it’s hard for me to see this team faring much better L.A.
That will mean big minutes for Jonas Siegenthaler on the top pair, who’s certainly a player I was sad to see leave Washington, but he is far from likely to thrive in such a role.
PK Subban’s play continues to regress, and it’s clear that his lack of foot speed is leaving him susceptible to allowing high-danger chances against this season. While playing with about as good a defensive partner as you can ask for in the ultra steady Ryan Graves of late, the pair has managed just a 42.4 xGF%.
There really aren’t any solutions to this problem, as I believe it’s just a roster deficit, and it’s hard to imagine that foursome is able to produce markedly better play both offensively and defensively for the club.
It’s unclear whether the Devils will go with Mackenzie Blackwood or Jon Gillies here in the back-to-back situation, but neither are very strong options.
Blackwood holds a -10.3 GSAx rating with an .894 save % throughout 23 games played, while Gillies holds a 0.0 GSAx rating with an .895 save % throughout just three games played.
Kings vs. Devils Pick
A strong effort from the Devils in their contest on Saturday isn’t going to change my take on this spot and the likelihood that the Kings can come in and take advantage of it.
In turn I like playing Los Angeles at the current price of -130, which is live on DraftKings among other books.
The Kings have been considerably sharper in front of goal and will have a notable goaltending edge with Quick vs. any of the Devils’ available options. New Jersey continues to leak goals against, and I think this is a tough matchup for New Jersey’s top unit against either the Kopitar’s line or Danault’s excellent shutdown play on the Kings second unit.
Surely these team’s would be a little closer record wise were the Devils to play in the cushy Pacific Division, but I still think there’s a notable gap between these two groups should the Kings play at close to top form.
To me this should sit much closer to -150, and I could definitely see it getting there closer to puck-drop, as the Kings are in notably better form as well as getting an advantageous spot here with the Devils hosting Carolina on Saturday.
I am certainly willing to back this one early, as I think it’s far more likely we see a worse price than -130 to back the Kings than a better one tomorrow.
Pick: Los Angeles Kings -130