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The Los Angeles Kings have lost three of their last five games.
The Boston Bruins have won seven of their last ten games.
The Bruins were 1-0-1 against the Kings last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Los Angeles Kings
15-12-5 (2nd in Pacific Division)
23-4-1 (1st in Atlantic Division)
Kevin Fiala (32)
David Pastrnak (39)
Gabriel Vilardi (13)
David Pastrnak (19)
Kevin Fiala (23)
David Pastrnak (20)
Mikey Anderson (6)
Hampus Lindholm (20)
Trevor Moore (3.22)
Shots (Per Game)
David Pastrnak (5.11)
The Los Angeles Kings will travel to Boston to face the Bruins at the TD Garden. The Kings are performing at the expected level and sitting in third place in the Pacific Conference. They could move into second with a win but risk dropping into a Wild Card spot with a loss. Conversely, the Bruins are the best team in the league. They lead the league with 47 points and would stay in first place in the Eastern Conference with a win or loss.
The Kings have a solid offense but weak defense and horrendous goaltending. I expect them to make the Playoffs but probably make a first-round exit. Their goaltending will continue to be a major point of issue in the Playoffs, and their centers and wingers will not be able to make up for it.
The Kings are led by Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Phillip Danault. Fiala leads the team in points (32) and has the 14th-most assists in the league (23). Kopitar is the veteran of this group but still plays 20 minutes a game and has 27 points. Phillip Danault is a talented center but the quietest player in this group. However, he is still a leader on this team and has 20 points. I would be remiss if I did not mention Viktor Arvidsson. Arvidsson is having a strong season but will miss this game for personal reasons.
The Kings have some of the worst goaltenders in the league in Jonathan Quick and Phoenix Copley. Copley was called up after the Kings sent down Cal Peterson and is off to a slow start. He gave up six goals in his last start against the Buffalo Sabres. Jonathan Quick, the starter, is not much better. Quick is allowing over 3.5 goals a game this year.
The Bruins have the NHL’s best offense and a top three defense. In addition, they possess the NHL’s top goaltender in Linus Ullmark. The season may not be halfway over, but the Bruins are on their way to a long Playoff run.
The Bruins have a high-powered offense with six players with 20 points or more. David Pastrnak leads this group with 39 points but Jake DeBrusk, Patrice Bergeron, Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Hampus Lindholm are also huge contributors.
Bruins’ goaltender Linus Ullmark has been a star this season. Ullmark has a 17-1-0 record and is only giving up 1.83 goals per game. Ullmark is a brick wall in net and largely responsible for Boston’s success and top spot in the standings.
This is not a difficult choice. The Bruins will dismantle the Kings at home. Their offense will feast on the Kings’ weak goaltending, and their defense will have very few issues with the Kings’ handful of offensive weapons.
The Kings are the underdogs but can give themselves a chance if they play team defense and draw penalties.
The Kings are not known for playing strong defense but need to in this game. The Bruins have many offensive weapons, so Los Angeles will need every player on the ice to play aggressive defense. This will be the only way the Kings can limit Boston’s scoring.
The Kings have a mediocre power play unit and convert over 23% of their opportunities. This unit needs to get out on the ice at least four times and convert at least once. If the Kings score a power play goal, they can keep themselves in the game.
The Bruins will likely win this game but can solidify their chances if they shoot as much as possible and score first.
The Bruins average nearly 3.9 goals per game on 35 shots. They should shoot the puck even more this game, as they will face one of Los Angeles’ subpar goaltenders. If Boston shoots 40 times, they can score five goals.
The Bruins need to be aggressive out of the gates and score the first goal. This is fairly generic advice, but the team that scores first wins 2/3s of the time.
Gabriel Vilardi started the season as the Kings’ best player. He led Los Angeles in points for the first couple of weeks but has slowed down since then. However, he still leads the team in goals (13) and converts on over 20% of his shots.
Vilardi must score goal #14 in this game and provide Los Angeles with offense.
Jake DeBrusk is coming off a two-goal, one-assist game against the New York Islanders. He has momentum from that game and needs to bring it into this one.
DeBrusk should look for his shot in this game, and he might end up scoring twice again.
What - Los Angeles Kings vs Boston Bruins
Where - TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
When - Thursday, December 15, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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