NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Kings vs. Flames (March 31)
Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Calgary Flames teammates Matthew Tkachuk, center, celebrates a goal with Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm.
- The Flames host the Kings on Thursday night in Calgary as heavy favorites.
- The Flames' high-flying offense figures to have a significant advantage over the Kings defense.
- Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Kings vs. Flames Odds
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We have an intriguing Pacific Division tilt on Thursday night as the second-place Los Angeles Kings travel to Calgary to take on the first-place Flames. This is the second meeting between these two teams this season as the Flames won the first matchup 3-2.
Will we see another low-scoring affair between these two teams, or can the offense pick It up this time around?
Kings Defense Banged Up
The Los Angeles Kings enter this contest on the second half of a road back-to-back following Wednesday's game against Edmonton. This article is written prior to Wednesday's game, so all figures and statistics are pre-Oilers game.
Los Angeles has seen many high-scoring games recently as there have been six or more total goals scored in each of their last five games. The Kings' defense is extremely banged up as Drew Doughty, Matt Roy, and Mikey Anderson all remain out of the lineup due to injuries.
These injuries have really hurt the Kings as they have surrendered an average of 3.6 goals per game over their last five contests. On the flip side, the Kings' offense remains hot as they are averaging 3.5 goals scored per game over their last four.
The Kings have had a good offense all season as they rank eighth in the league in five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF). I expect this offense to get its share of good chances against the Flames as they play at an extremely fast pace.
Flames Offense on Fire
The Calgary Flames will look to bounce back from Tuesday night's home loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Much like Kings, the Flames have seen high-scoring games recently as well as there have been six or more total goals scored in four of their last five games.
It is no secret that Calgary possesses one of the best forward groups in the league, spearheaded by the stacked Gaudreau/Lindholm/Tkachuk line. This season, the Flames rank fourth in the league in five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF).
Their offense has been even more on fire lately as they are averaging four goals scored per game over their last seven contests. Jacob Markstrom is the projected starting goaltender for Calgary and has not played up to his usual level lately.
Over his last four starts, Markstrom possesses a mere 0.889 Save Percentage. If he is not completely dialed in, the Kings could easily score three times in this matchup (and we all know how easy scoring four goals is for the Flames offense).
Kings vs. Flames Pick
I like this game to reach at least six total goals scored with how hot these offenses have been lately. Heck, the Flames' offense is so locked in right now that they could score six times by themselves.
I think there is still value to be had if the total reaches 6.5 before puck drop, but I would not lay much juice on It.
Pick: Kings/Flames Over 6 (-120) | Play up to (-130)