Friday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Preview
Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: William Carrier #28 of the Vegas Golden Knights and Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings
- Looking for the latest odds as the Vegas Golden Knights prepare to host the Los Angeles Kings in Friday's showdown? We’ve got you covered.
- The home team has won both of the previous matchups in this series this season, but our analyst is eyeing road underdog Los Angeles here.
- Carol Schram breaks down the game below and delivers her top pick.
Kings vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-165|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
There should be plenty of emotion when the Los Angeles Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights meet for the third time this season on Friday night.
Both previous meetings have been high-scoring, lopsided affairs that have been won by the home side. The Kings took the 6-2 win in their season opener on Oct. 14. The Golden Knights replied with a 6-3 drubbing on Dec. 28.
On Friday, the clubs will reconvene on the Vegas Strip, where Jack Eichel will play his second game with his new team.
Here’s the latest on the two sides, and what you need to know when betting this game.
Los Angeles Kings Out For Revenge
The Kings haven’t appeared in a playoff game since they were unceremoniously swept in the first round by the expansion Golden Knights in their debut 2017-18 season en route to shocking the hockey world by reaching the Stanley Cup Final. That makes this matchup personal, especially for long-time Los Angeles players like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick.
That series left a lingering impression that the Kings can’t win in Vegas, a notion that was reinforced again in December. Though the Kings had been playing winning hockey, keeping scores low and leaning on Quick, their goaltender got the hook just 2:47 into the second period of that game after giving up five goals on 15 Vegas shots.
In his career, Quick is 4-8-1 in the regular season against Vegas, with a 4.10 goals-against average and .875 save percentage.
His overall numbers this season are much better than that: 12-10-6 with a 2.60 GAA and .912 save percentage. He and Cal Petersen have generally been alternating starts, and Petersen took the loss against Edmonton on Wednesday. It looks like Quick will get another chance to vanquish his demons on Friday in Vegas although, with a game scheduled on Saturday in Arizona as well, Todd McLellan could choose to split his goalies’ workload either way.
The 5-2 loss to the Oilers was the Kings’ first game since the All-Star Break, so they may have needed to shake off some rust. They’re about as healthy as they’ve been all season, with only defensemen Alex Edler and Sean Walker and forward Lias Andersson on the injured list.
And despite a 4-4-2 record in their last 10 games, they’re hanging around in the race for a playoff spot in the West. Heading into Thursday’s games, they’re holding down the second wild-card spot and tied with both Edmonton (above them) and Anaheim (below them), all with 55 points.
Vegas Golden Knights Losing Steam
Over in Vegas, the Golden Knights are having a bit of a power outage. Though their last two games were a week apart, they were shut out in both — a 6-0 drubbing in Calgary on Feb. 9, then a 2-0 home loss to Colorado on Wednesday.
After 11 months off the ice and a groundbreaking artificial disc replacement surgery in his neck, Jack Eichel made his Vegas debut against the Avalanche, on the first line with Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov.
Wearing his familiar No. 9, he played 17:32, including 1:50 on the power play. His expected goals share was 45.39%, he went 8-for-19 in the faceoff circle, and he got whistled for a pair of minor penalties. Eichel is a sublime talent when he’s at his best, but those numbers suggest that he’ll need a some time to get back up to NHL speed — especially when everyone else on the ice already has half a season of work under their belts.
Easing Eichel in isn’t the only challenge that coach Peter DeBoer is currently managing. Say what you will about salary-cap gymnastics — the Golden Knights aren’t the same team when Mark Stone isn’t in the lineup. He’s now officially on long-term injured reserve after trying to play through a back injury for a good part of the season.
Defenseman Alec Martinez also remains on the sidelines with his facial injury, and now goaltender Robin Lehner is out — described as day-to-day with an upper-body issue.
Laurent Brossoit played well in net against Colorado on Wednesday, and the Golden Knights’ schedule is nicely spaced out over the next week. So he should get the nod again on Friday.
The surging Calgary Flames have snatched first place in the Pacific away from Vegas with their recent red-hot stretch of play. With 59 points, the Golden Knights only have a four-point cushion over the trio of Edmonton, L.A. and Anaheim.
So as much as this seems like a natural spot for a lull in the season before gearing up for the playoff push, the Golden Knights can’t afford to take their foot off the gas. Friday’s game is a true four-pointer.
Kings-Golden Knights Pick
Both sides are coming off losses. Both sides need the points in what’s shaping up to be a thrilling Pacific Division playoff race. And both sides don’t like each other very much — although, coming from the Eastern Conference, Eichel can be forgiven if he has not yet embraced the hate when it comes to the Los Angeles squad. He’ll learn.
Though Vegas can sometimes score in bunches — especially against the Kings — this is shaping up to be a tightly contested, defense-first game.
That being said, an under of 5.5 is unnervingly limiting, especially given the outcomes of the other games between the teams this season.
To my eye, the value in this game lies with the healthy Kings. They’re looking to erase the memory of their last visit to Vegas and take advantage of a banged-up squad of Knights. I like their chances.
Pick: Los Angeles ML (+140 | Bet to+120)