The Los Angeles Kings are big favorites on Wednesday night as they host the Colorado Avalanche on NBCSN. It has been ugly for the Avalanche this season as they have the worst record in the NHL and they came out of the All-Star break on a 7-game losing streak. On the other side, the Kings are battling for one of the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Surprisingly, the Avalanche have won the last three meetings in this series.
At 10:30 p.m. ET, tune into NBCSN for live television coverage of this NHL game on Wednesday, February 1 at Staples Center.
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Both teams are in the second half of a back-to-back as each game out of the All-Star game playing on the road. The Avalanche were in Anaheim on Tuesday night so they actually don’t have to travel while the Kings were in Arizona.
The Avalanche have actually been better on the road this season than at home. Colorado was 8-14 in their first 22 road games while they were just 5-19 at home. The Kings are 14-11 at home.
Colorado has been decent in the second half of back-to-backs as they are 11-9 in their last 20 while the Kings are even better going 13-7 in their last 20.
Colorado has done very little right this season. They are 27th in the league on the power play at 14.4% and they are last in the league in goals per game at 2 per contest. They are 25th in penalty killing at 78.6% and they are last in the league in goals allowed at 3.4 per contest.
The Kings are just 21st in the league on the power play at 17% and they are just 22nd in the league in goals per game at 2.5 per contest. They are 11th in penalty killing at 82.8%. They are 5th in the league in goals allowed at 2.4 per game.
The Avalanche lost top goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a season-ending injury so the main man in goal now is Calvin Pickard who is 7-14 with a 3.01 goals against average. Colorado called up Spencer Martin to be the backup. He was 15-9-2 in the minors with a 2.62 goals against average.
The Kings are still without Jonathan Quick but Peter Budaj has been excellent as he is 22-17 with a 2.06 goals against average. The Kings recently sent down Jeff Zatkoff to the minors so they have a new backup goaltender in Jack Campbell. The Kings are not expecting Quick to return until sometime in March. If the Kings are going to stay in the playoff hunt they will need Budaj to continue to play at a high level because Los Angeles simply isn’t scoring many goals.
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It is always good to look at both sides of a game to see if there is a reason to take the underdog. The problem this season with taking Colorado is that they need everything to go right just to have a chance to win. They need excellent goaltending and their best players to play great. They also need the other team to have an off night. It can happen as the Avalanche have eight road wins this season but it is getting harder and harder to make a case for them.
Colorado has won the last three against the Kings including 4-1 in Colorado back in mid-November. The Avalanche are 4-6 in the last ten in Los Angeles with three of the last five going under.
In a normal situation I would take Colorado at the big plus money but the Avalanche are simply a rotten team right now. I have to lay the price and take the Kings in this one.
NHL Odds: Kings 4, Avalanche 2
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