Sharks vs. Kings Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back L.A. Against Floundering San Jose (March 10)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with Jonathan Quick #32
- The Kings host the rival Sharks in this Thursday night showdown.
- Hit with the injury bug, things aren’t looking too promising for San Jose against a red-hot L.A. squad.
- Our betting analyst breaks down this matchup, plus his prediction and pick, below.
Updated Sharks vs. Kings Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
This Thursday night showdown is the first game of a home-on-home series featuring two longtime rivals in the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.
It will mark the second meeting between the two squads this season after the Sharks handed the Kings a 6-2 loss in November. The hometown Kings come in as a strong favorite at -215, while the Sharks come in at +175 (check real-time NHL odds here).
To be a hockey fan in the Bay Area can’t be much fun these days. The Sharks have struggled a lot after a strong start to the season, going 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. However, no matter the situation, the Sharks typically show up for games like these.
After a wonderful comeback win in overtime against the Boston Bruins, the Kings are riding very high. The Kings are one of the league’s hottest squads as they’ve gone 8-2 in their last 10. They’ll look to continue their dominance against a struggling rival.
San Jose Sharks Floundering Amid Injuries
It’s never easy to be one of the league’s coldest teams, but the Sharks are typically in the fight most games. They have some solid talent, but are considered very top heavy. Timo Meier is leading the team in scoring — averaging more than a point per game — while veterans like Tomas Hertl, captain Logan Couture and Brent Burns are contributing often. The injury bug has hit this team though — San Jose will be missing Kevin Labanc, Mario Ferraro, Nikolai Knyzhov, both starting netminders — oh, and both Radim Simek and Jacob Middleton are listed as day-to-day.
When it comes to driving play, it seems to be a big downfall for the Sharks. While they do generate a decent amount of high-danger chances, they’re rarely converted — San Jose is 22nd in expected goals with a 46.98 xGF%. The Sharks’ power play has been average at best as well, as they score at an 18.9% clip.
On the defensive side of the puck, San Jose has been decent all season — aside from allowing 3.16 goals per game. While they’re about middle of the pack when it comes to allowing high-danger chances, the Sharks are superb on the penalty kill, with an 86.4% success rate (second overall).
With both James Reimer and Adin Hill out with injuries, San Jose will be short-handed in net. It’s expected that Zach Sawchenko will be the first one out the tunnel. The rookie hasn’t been dealt an easy hand, but he is hanging in there. In his five games, he’s posting a .908 SV% and a +0.5 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). His backup will be veteran Alex Stalock, who did not thrive in his only start, allowing six goals on 28 shots.
Los Angeles Kings Reigning Supreme
The Kings are opening a lot of eyes in Southern California. Many expected this to be another rebuilding year, but Los Angeles has exceeded those expectations. The Kings have a deep team led by captain Anze Kopitar with exceptional contributions from players like Viktor Arvidsson, Adrian Kempe and Phillip Danault.
They have also done a wonderful job generating play this season. While the Kings don’t score a ton of goals (2.93 GPG), they are ninth in expected goals with a 52.67 xGF% and create the third-most high-danger chances. Special teams are their downfall, however, as they only score on the power play at a 16.9% clip — good enough for fifth-worst in the NHL.
Los Angeles’ five-on-five defense is its strength, allowing only 2.76 goals per game. Goaltending has kept the Kings in games because teams create a good amount of high-danger chances against them. Their penalty kill is abysmal, though, as they only have a 75.8% success rate (27th).
Veteran Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen have both split starts this season, and have done a wonderful job. Petersen surprisingly started both of the Kings’ back-to-back games recently, so perhaps coach Todd Mclellan will venture with Quick here. The former Conn Smythe winner is having a sort of resurgence this season with a .908 SV% and a +10.9 GSAx, while Petersen isn’t far behind with a .904 SV% and a -0.5 GSAx.
Sharks vs. Kings Pick
The Sharks are a hard-working team and do have the capability to frustrate opponents. But with the injury bug hitting them at the wrong time, they are an easy write off for many bettors.
I believe Sawchenko has a bright future, but his immediate future may not look so hopeful as he takes on the red-hot Kings.
This game won’t be won off special teams — San Jose’s average power play and great penalty kill cancel out L.A.’s abysmal power play and penalty kill. I truly expect this game will be won five-on-five.
With how hot the Kings are, they are a good candidate to bet -1.5 against a poor Sharks squad — especially if you can grab them at plus money.
Pick: Los Angeles Kings -1.5 (+120)