NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kings vs. Flames (November 14)
Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Quick.
Kings vs. Flames Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
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The Los Angeles Kings, riding high on a four-game win streak, head north to Calgary to take on the Flames. The Kings hold the fourth-best record in the league and are second in the Pacific Division.
Calgary has not enjoyed the success it had last year. Prior to beating Winnipeg on Saturday, the Flames underwent a seven-game losing streak. They’ll look to continue rolling and put their struggles behind them.
Will the Kings push their winning streak to five, or will the Flames continue to put their losing in the rearview?
Los Angeles Kings
Coach Todd McLellan is getting a ton out of his team, which bodes well for the Kings. Gabriel Vilardi is breaking out with 10 goals in his first 15 games and offseason acquisition Kevin Fiala is averaging just under a point per game. Captain Anze Kopitar is putting up his usual consistent numbers and Trevor Moore is enjoying the best start of his career.
Los Angeles has been one of the best teams at driving play 5-on-5. It’s been playing to a sixth-best 55.11 xGF% (expected goals) and creates 10 high danger chances per game. For the most part, the Kings have fared OK on the power play and are scoring about 19% of the time.
Along with their 5-on-5 offensive dominance, they’ve been incredible at even strength defense with a fourth best 2.28 xGA/60. However, the penalty kill hasn’t been their strength. They stop the man advantage around 75% of the time.
Jonathan Quick, the 16-year veteran, is back and taking the brunt of the starts this season. He’s posting decent numbers, playing to a decent .904 SV% and a -0.8 goals saved above expected (GSAx). I’d be interested if he or Cal Petersen plays though since Petersen hasn’t played in two weeks. He’s statistically played horribly with an .868 SV% and -5.1 GSAx, so my guess is Quick will get the nod.
Despite losing stars like Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, expectations were pretty high for the Flames. They added a 115-point scorer in Jonathan Huberdeau, though he’s struggled, and Andrew Mangiapane, who scored 35 goals last year. What’s encouraging is that big free agent acquisition Nazem Kadri is picking up where he left off last year and averaging just under a point per game. Elias Lindholm isn’t playing terribly either, though I’m sure coach Darryl Sutter would love more out of him.
Even though Calgary has had a rough start to its season, the Flames have held strong on the offensive end. Calgary managed to stay in the middle of the pack with a 50.2 xGF% 5-on-5, as well as just under 10 high danger chances per game. The power play hasn’t enjoyed much success though, as the Flames have only converted 18.8% of the time on the man advantage.
The Flames have actually been one of the better teams defensively with a 2.59 xGA/60 and a seventh-best penalty kill with a 82.8% success rate.
Since Dan Vladar took the net on Thursday, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jacob Markstrom takes the net on Monday. He usually plays in bulk, and he got his rest Thursday. Last year’s Vezina nominee isn’t having an ideal season compared to last. He’s playing to an .893 SV% and a 2.0 GSAx. Despite that, you can never count out the towering Swede to steal a game.
Kings vs. Flames Pick
When looking at this game, I like to look at both teams’ schedules. Both the Kings and Flames have managed to get under six goals more often than not this month (seven out of 13 games). Not only that, but both teams also have legitimate defenses with top notch netminders.
The Flames have struggled mightily and their top contributors have been limited since opening night. Put them against the fourth-best Kings defense and I can see a low scoring bout.
I also don’t think special teams will play a major factor in this game. While both teams aren’t very disciplined, neither are spectacular on the power play, and the Flames have a quality penalty kill squad.
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