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This Thursday night in the NHL is going to bring a lot of entertaining games for fans to watch and bettors to place bets on. One of the biggest games of the night is set for a huge Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchup and the Pittsburgh Penguins (5-6) visiting the Los Angeles Kings (8-2-2). This is going to be a desperation game for the Penguins as any big win to acquire confidence moving forward. The Kings, on the other hand, are feeling incredibly confident after their huge 4-1 win the night before at the Vegas Golden Knights.
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|Pittsburgh Penguins||+1.5 (-210)||+105||O 6.5|
|Los Angeles Kings||-1.5 (+170)||-130||U 6.5|
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This 2023-2024 NHL Season has not started the way that many Pittsburgh Penguins fans have won it. The Penguins have lost several winnable games this season but have fallen victim to tough situations or inconsistent coaching. The Penguins have too much of a talented roster to be in last place in a tough Metropolitan division.
The Los Angeles Kings, on the other hand, are in a heated battle this early in the season for the Pacific divisional title. Not only are the Vegas Golden Knights continuing to be one of the most elite teams in the league, but the Vancouver Canucks have also been a shockingly great team this early in the season. The Kings are one of the most complete teams in the NHL.
Los Angeles possesses one of the most explosive offenses in the league as their average 4.25 goals per game, which is second in the league only behind the Canucks. They have five players this season who have accounted for at least 11 points. They are a team by committee offensively as center Adrian Kempre (14 points) and Anze Kopitar (13 points and seven goals) are the leaders, while forward Kevin Kiala (12 assists) is the most efficient passer.
Los Angeles is just as good on the defensive side of the ice as they allow only 2.67 goals per game, sixth in the league. Cam Talbot (93% on saves) has been one of the best goalies in the league as he showed his efficiency in the 4-1 win over the Golden Knights. After playing the night before, Talbot is projected to rest as the Kings project to start Pheonix Copley (78.8% on saves in three games).
The Penguins have one of the most talented rosters in the entire league on both sides of the ice. Offensively, Pittsburgh is averaging 3.45 goals per game, which is ninth in the league. Five players for Pittsburgh have accounted for 11 points in 11 games this season. Forward Jake Guentzel leads the team in points accounted for (14) and assists (10). Center Evgeni Malkin, center Sidney Crosby, forward Ryan Rust and forward Reilly Smith have scored at least six goals this season.
Defensively, the Penguins are just as efficient by possession of solid defenders and reliable goalies. Pittsburgh has allowed an average of 2.82 two goals per game, which is eighth best in the league. Tristan Jarry (90.7% on saves) has played well in certain situations but faces pressure the more he is challenged. If he cannot play on Thursday night due to injuries, Magnus Hellberg (92.9% on saves in two games) projects to take over.
This is a game that would ordinarily have the Kings as the overwhelming favorites. With the Kings resting their top goalie and coming off a huge emotional win over the Golden Knights, it sets up an opportunity for the Penguins for a big upset to get their confidence back for a more efficient run.
What: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Los Angeles Kings
Where: Crypto Arena, Los Angeles, California
When: Thursday, November 9, 10:30 PM
How to Watch: NHLPP, ESPN+
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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