The Kings are skating into the Mile High City on Wednesday night for the first of two games with the Avs to put a merciful end to their season. Let’s analyze this matchup, determine where the value lies, and keep cashing our NHL picks!
Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 – 9:00 PM EDT at Ball Arena
The Kings are officially eliminated from the postseason but are still grinding even though their efforts have been for naught over the past three games. Last Friday and Saturday they battled the Avalanche at the Staples Center and lost by identical scores of 3-2. LA followed that up with a 2-1 overtime loss to St. Louis on Monday night despite outshooting the Blues 27-19. But St. Louis won double the faceoffs and was more physical throughout. Both offenses were silent heading into the third period before Tyler Bozak tallied to put St. Louis in front, 1-0. However, that lead didn’t last long as LA’s Alex Iafallo lit the lamp for his 13th goal of the season with assists from Gabriel Vilardi and Olli Maatta.
With the game knotted at one apiece entering overtime, the Blues struck in an under a minute when Justin Faulk sealed the deal with his seventh goal of the season. “Offensively, I thought for a team that really has to work hard to score, I thought we got cute,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “We wanted to make plays when we should have been shooting the puck and it probably cost us the game.”
Avs Heating Up as Playoffs Loom
Aside from the Florida Panthers, Colorado has been the hottest team in the league, having won six of their last seven contests and outscoring their opponents by a combined 22-15 over that stretch. The defense has been stout and so too has the goaltending, allowing an average of 2.14 goals per game during this seven-game span. In their last outing, the Avs notched a big two points from the division-leading Vegas Knights when they secured a 2-1 victory on Monday night. The win was critical as Colorado is still very much in the hunt for the top spot in the West Division. The Avalanche trail Vegas by two points with a game in hand, therefore, these last two games with Los Angeles could tell the tale as to which team they will face when the opening round of the playoffs begins.
In Monday night’s win, the Knights drew first blood when Alex Pietrangelo scored midway through the opening period. However, the Avs would respond with goals by Andre Burakovsky in the second followed by what proved to be the game-winner when J.T. Compher buried the biscuit behind Knights’ goalie Robin Lehner. But the story of the night was the play of All-World Colorado netminder, Phillip Grubauer, who turned aside 36 of 37 shots. “Without (Grubauer) we don’t have a chance,” Bednar said. “Vegas was more competitive. They won a bulk of the puck battles, played with more pace, had better execution. I didn’t think we executed what we wanted to at all. … I thought they were the more physical team tonight, more engaged.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
The Avalanche are 5-1 versus the Kings this season and it is hard to make a case to bet LA in this scenario. Colorado is white-hot, has the home-ice advantage, and the No. 1 seed in their sights while the Kings are just playing out the string. The only positive for LA is that they have been competitive in their recent losses, and against Colorado this season they have lost by an average score of 3.00 to 1.40 which is still pretty tight. The early NHL odds are revealing the Avs as prohibitive favorites but this is a game that is of utmost importance to Colorado and meaningless to Los Angeles.
The Avs have more depth, a better offense, and superior goaltending. While I would like to take advantage of all that juice the oddsmakers are giving us on the Kings, I am reminded by the age-old sports betting axiom, there is no value in losing.
NHL Pick: Avalanche -325 at BetOnline