NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Kings vs. Rangers (Jan. 24)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Artemi Panarin
Kings vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers are set to meet for the second time this month at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
The Kings were victorious the first battle on the West Coast, but the Rangers have won four of five since then are sitting atop the Metropolitan Division standings.
The Kings Are in Great Form
The Kings started their six-game road trip with a win over New Jersey on Sunday. Los Angeles lost the expected goals battle at 5-on-5 to the Devils, but were able to get the result thanks to solid goaltending from Cal Petersen.
Petersen will likely step aside for this contest, meaning Jonathan Quick will get the nod in goal for the Kings on Monday. Quick has been resurgent this season, skating to an 11-10-4 record, a +13.9 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), and a .914 save percentage.
Quick’s play has been a big part of a surprising season for the Kings, but Los Angeles has been pretty strong in all phases of the game so far.
It has gone a little under the radar, but the Kings lead the NHL in creating high-danger scoring chances at 14.1 per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Los Angeles also ranks third in shots on goal per game and is eighth in expected goals rate. Los Angeles ranks third in the NHL with a 57.4% expected goals rate over the last month.
Los Angeles will need to play a discipline 60 minutes because its penalty kill, which is ranked 29th, converting 73% of the time, could get exposed against a strong Rangers power play.
The Rangers Keep Winning
The New York Rangers have converted on 25.2% of their power plays this season (8th overall) and their No. 1 unit features four of the top-20 scorers in the league: Adam Fox (45 points), Artemi Panarin (43), Chris Kreider (42) and Mika Zibanejad (42). The fifth member on this unit is Ryan Strome who currently has 31 points.
New York’s power play has been key to its success so far, as the club’s 5-on-5 numbers leave a lot to be desired. Over their last 12 games the Rangers are 31st in the NHL with a 40.8% expected goals rate. New York has struggled to drive play at even strength all season, but has been bailed out by terrific goaltending and an opportunistic offense.
Last time these two teams played, Alexandar Georgiev got the start in net and put up a strong effort, but it’s expected that Igor Shesterkin will start on Monday.
Shesterkin is 19-4-2 on the season and has won his last nine starts on home ice. Igor leads the NHL with a +21.7 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) and his .936 save percentage is second among goalies with 10+ starts.
Kings vs. Rangers Pick
The Kings looked pretty dominant against the Rangers the last time these two teams met, but the Rangers were missing key members of their team at the time due to Covid-19.
The Rangers are healthy, skating on home ice and have the rest advantage in this contest, so it’s no wonder the Blueshirts are decent favorites over the plucky Kings.
Despite their poor 5-on-5 play, I think this is a good spot to ride with the Rangers and back them to slow down a surprising Kings team. With Shesterkin in net and a big edge in special teams, I think New York should get the separation needed to wrap this game up in regulation.
Pick: New York Rangers to win in regulation (+100)