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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
|Los Angeles Kings||+1.5||O 5.5 (-115)|
|New York Rangers||-1.5||U 5.5 (-105)|
It is always a fun matchup when a New York team plays a Los Angeles team. This year, it just so happens that the New York Team and Los Angeles team are both very good.
The Los Angeles Kings have been mediocre since the NHL returned, but, more importantly, they have not played well over their last four games. They are 1-3 and have been outscored 18-10. However, even though the Kings are not playing well, they are still a solid team with strong centers and good defensemen. They also just activated 19-year-old center Quinton Byfield in hopes that he can infuse them with some energy.
The New York Rangers are the better team. They have won four of their last five games and scored 22 times in that period. They are led by defenseman Adam Fox, winger Chris Kreider, and center Mika Zibanejad. The Rangers have a stronger roster and have been on a tear lately, so I expect them to beat the Kings at home.
New York Rangers beat Los Angeles Kings 4-2. New York Rangers cover, Over 5.5 goals.
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|Los Angeles Kings||Head-to-Head||New York Rangers|
|Todd McLellan||Head Coach||Gerald Gallant|
|20-16-5 (3rd in Pacific Division)||Standing||27-11-4 (1st in Metropolitan Division)|
|Anze Kopitar (36)||Points||Adam Fox (45)|
|Adrian Kempe (17)||Goals||Chris Kreider (29)|
|Anze Kopitar (17)||Assists||Adam Fox (38)|
|Matt Roy (12)||+/-||Ryan Lindgren (18)|
|Viktor Arvidsson (3.44)||Shots (Per Game)||Chris Kreider (3.12)|
The Los Angeles Kings are the underdogs, but not by that much. They can pull out a tough road victory if they avoid drawing penalties and take as many shots as possible.
The New York Rangers have a great power-play unit, scoring on almost 25% of their power-plays. They are led by defenseman Adam Fox and his 20 power-play assists. The Kings simply cannot give the Rangers those opportunities to score. However, this should not be too difficult for the Kings, as they have 61 fewer penalty minutes this season than the Rangers.
I am not saying that the Kings should shoot the puck every time they enter the offensive zone. However, they should shoot any time they think they have any chance of scoring. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin usually is one of the best in the NHL, but he has not been as good lately. Shesterkin gave up three goals on 29 shots last game against the Arizona Coyotes. That may not sound like a lot, but for Shesterkin, it is. The Kings must take advantage of Shesterkin’s decline in play and ramp up the number of shots they take.
The New York Rangers probably will win. They have the better goalie, have been playing better, and are at home. However, that does not mean this game will be a cakewalk. The Rangers still need to focus on creating fast break opportunities and slowing down center Quinton Byfield.
Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick is no longer so quick (pun intended). He is 36 years old and not the same goalie he once was five or ten years ago. The Rangers should be able to put some pucks past him if they can overwhelm him on fast breaks. Fastbreaks are always tricky to handle as a goalie but even more difficult when you have lost a step in the back half of your career.
Center Quinton Byfield made his season debut last Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche. He has now played in two games and tallied four shots. He has not scored, but that first goal is coming soon. Byfield is a young player with excellent puck-handling skills. The Rangers cannot allow him to get the puck with space, or they might be looking at a Kings’ goal.
At this point, Quinton Byfield is a wild card. He is a promising young player, but this will only be his third game of the season and ninth game of his career. No one knows how good Byfield is right now, which makes him so dangerous.
Byfield will probably be on the ice for no more than 15 minutes this game. During those 15 minutes or less, the Rangers cannot allow him to have the puck. He is too strong a puck handler and will make the Rangers pay if he can hold the puck.
Left winger Artemi Panarin is a talented player. The seventh-year man from Russia has 32 assists and 11 goals in only 37 games. He averages over one point a game and is excellent at creating opportunities for his teammates.
The Rangers have so many explosive players, and Panarin is only one of them. Panarin’s teammates need to know when Panarin has the puck because he might find them for a good shot.
Defensively, the Kings have to force the puck away from him. If they do not, the Rangers will have no trouble scoring.
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|Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers Information|
|What||Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers|
|Where||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York|
|When||Monday, January 24, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||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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