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Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook
Los Angeles Kings
32-18-7 (2nd in Pacific Division)
30-21-5 (4th in Central Division)
Kevin Fiala (61)
Kirill Kaprizov (66)
Adrian Kempe (28)
Kirill Kaprizov (33)
Kevin Fiala (40)
Mats Zuccarello (36)
Adrian Kempe (8)
Jared Spurgeon (18)
Kevin Fiala (3.12)
Shots (Per Game)
Kirill Kaprizov (3.79)
The Los Angeles Kings will travel to St. Paul to face the Minnesota Wild for the third time this season. Los Angeles has had some success against the Wild this year, beating them by scores of 7-6 and 1-0.
The Kings have been heating up and are sitting in second place in the Pacific Division. Their 71 points are the third-most in the Western Conference. With that being said, they can move into first place in the Pacific with a win tonight. On the other side, the Wild are just barely in the Playoff race. Minnesota has 65 points and is in the second Wild Card spot. They would stay in that spot with a win but would be closer to falling out if they lose this game.
The Kings are hard to read. Clearly, they have been successful this season and are on a four-game winning streak. However, their defense and goaltending tend to be liabilities. Los Angeles gives up 3.37 goals per game and allowed the lowly Arizona Coyotes to score five times on them in their previous game. Their goaltending has improved since they called up Phoenix Copley, but it is still suspect. Overall, the Kings are a solid team. They just have to improve in some areas.
The Kings struggle on the defensive side but have a talented offense. Los Angeles has five players with at least 15 goals and four players with at least 40 points or more. These players will need to carry the team in the final stretch of the season.
Goaltender Phoenix Copley has been a solid addition since being called up. Copley has not been excellent, but he has been much better than his predecessor, Cal Petersen. More importantly, the Kings win when Copley plays. He only has a .904 save percentage but somehow has amassed a 17-3-1 record.
The Wild are in the opposite situation of the Kings. Their offense is slow and scores less than 2.9 goals per game, but their defense is solid. They also have a hot goaltender in Filip Gustavsson. With that being said, the Wild are on the Playoff bubble and need to figure out how to start scoring with much more frequency.
The Wild’s offense is concerningly slow, but they have a few scorers in Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, and Joel Eriksson Ek. Each of these players have at least 20 goals and 46 points.
Filip Gustavsson has become the starter in Minnesota. He only has a 14-8-2 record but is playing like a top-five goaltender. Gustavsson allows 2.16 goals per game and has a .926 save percentage.
This game will be close, but the Wild will win it at home. Minnesota performs very well when their home crowd is backing them and will emerge victorious.
The Kings are the underdogs but can win with strong goaltending and a solid power play unit.
The Kings are not known for having competent goaltenders. Their starter, Jonathan Quick, has been underperforming this season, but their backup, Phoenix Copley, has been much better. Copley is working his way into the starter role and might get the majority of the starts in the Playoffs. I expect him to play today after sitting out the last two games. He must perform at a high level, or the Kings will lose.
The Kings have the second-best power play unit in the NHL and convert over 26% of their opportunities. 26.7% of their goals are coming on the power play, which is why they need to get on the ice. If the Kings draw four or more power plays, this unit will score.
The Wild are the favorites but will only win if they overwhelm the Kings with shots and make the extra pass.
As I mentioned above, the Kings have questionable defensemen and goaltenders. Los Angeles allows too many goals, but the Wild can take advantage of that. Minnesota must let it rip and shoot as much as possible. They will receive many scoring opportunities and need to take advantage of every one of them.
The Wild have a slow offense but can turn it up if they make the extra pass. If they do, they will create better scoring chances for themselves.
The Kings’ defensemen cannot be trusted, so I have to turn to their leading goal-scorer, Adrian Kempe. Kempe has 28 goals and eight in the last five games. He cannot slow down now, though. Kempe must continue to shoot and keep on putting the puck in the back of the net.
Joel Eriksson Ek is quietly having an impressive season for the Wild. The center has 21 goals and 25 assists in 56 games this season. However, he has been pretty quiet lately and only has three points in his previous five games. Eriksson Ek has to step up this game and put on a show.
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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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