NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kings vs. Panthers

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kings vs. Panthers article feature image

Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8).

  • The Los Angeles Kings continue their lengthy roadtrip with a trip to Florida to face the Panthers.
  • The Kings enter this contest on a two-game winning streak, while the Panthers have lost each of their past two games.
  • Carol Schram digs into the odds and offers up her best bet below.

Kings vs. Panthers Odds

Kings Odds+120
Panthers Odds-145
Over/Under6.5 (-135/+110)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

As they move into the second half of an 11-day road trip, the Los Angeles Kings head south to the Sunshine State for a Friday night date with the Florida Panthers.

The Kings continue to hold down third place in the Pacific Division standings, and are riding a two-game winning streak after victories in Chicago and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Panthers picked up one point earlier this week, but gave up 13 total goals in back-to-back road games against the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Here's a closer look at the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.

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Los Angeles Kings

The biggest story with the Kings is goaltender Pheonix Copley. The journeyman from North Pole, AK, who turned 31 on Jan. 18, stepped in after Cal Petersen was re-assigned to the AHL in December. Copley has kept the Kings' season alive. His save percentage is a so-so .897, but his goals-against average is a steady 2.80 — low enough that they Kings have won 14 of 17 games with him between the pipes.

At age 37, the past couple of months have been a struggle for Jonathan Quick. He's now at .884 and 3.34 for the year and more importantly, the wins have deserted him. The two-time Stanley Cup champion and franchise legend is 0-5-2 since Dec. 3

When they get saves, the Kings are a pretty good team. They're ranked sixth in expected goals at 5-on-5 (53.11%), and their top-10 power play helps fuel their offense, which is in the middle of the pack at 3.18 goals per game.

Injuries up front to Trevor Moore, Gabriel Vilardi and Carl Grundstrom have opened up some opportunities for young players. High-end prospects Rasmus Kupari, Alex Turcotte and Samuel Fagemo are all currently on the Kings' roster.

Florida Panthers

At this point, Florida coach Paul Maurice must be wishing he had a goalie like Copley stashed within his organization. Sergei Bobrovsky has been out for a week after suffering a lower-body injury in a game and Spencer Knight has not yet suited up for an NHL contest since suffering an undisclosed injury earlier in January — though he did see two games of AHL action with the Charlotte Checkers earlier this week.

Enter Alex Lyon. The 30-year-old has appeared in Florida's past four games, but his results are trending in a negative direction. He picked up wins against Montreal and Minnesota, then gave up five goals to the Rangers on Monday and seven to the Penguins on Tuesday.

Both Knight and Bobrovsky were on the ice for Florida's practice on Thursday. As of Thursday night, it's unclear whether either or both will be ready to dress against Los Angeles.

Among the injured Florida forwards, the news is better. Sam Bennett and Eric Staal should be able to play Friday, while Anthony Duclair and Patric Hornqvist are tracking for returns after the All-Star break.

After looking like their playoff prospects were grim in December, the Panthers have pushed their way back into the conversation this month. Despite their injury issues, they're 7-4-2 in January and have moved within four points of a wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Panthers also have solid puck possession numbers, controlling 52.87% of expected goals at 5-on-5. They also have more offensive firepower than the Kings, averaging 3.4 goals scored per game.

Kings vs. Panthers Pick

Both Los Angeles and Florida are in back-to-back situations this weekend, with tough matchups on Saturday. The Kings will move on to Tampa Bay to face the Lightning, while the Panthers host the Boston Bruins.

It's tough to gauge how either side will deploy its goaltenders, but there's one thing we do know: both squads desperately need points.

The Kings have had two days off since beating Philadelphia on Tuesday. They certainly could go back to Copley, who has been playing big minutes, and if that's the case, there are some solid moneylines available at plus money on various platforms — as high as +135 at BetMGM and +140 at Bet365, as of Thursday evening.

Even if Knight or Bobrovsky is ready to draw back in for Florida on Friday, it's not easy to know how they'll perform as they return from injury. The Panthers have picked up their game in recent weeks, but the oddsmakers are offering strong value on the road dogs, and the Kings are in a good spot to deliver.

In this matchup, they're worth your attention.

Pick: Kings Moneyline | Play to +110

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