Underachieving clubs face off on West Coast
Lindy Ruff’s Dallas squad is struggling to recapture the magic of its 2015-16 season. But will a trek to La La Land restore a bit of that luster?
The Stars visit the Kings tonight, with a 10:30 p.m. ET puck drop at Staples Center. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the hosts odds of -155 to emerge victorious. Conversely, Dallas represents a +135 underdog.
Coming off a 4-3 loss to St. Louis, the Stars find themselves hovering near the bottom of the standings at 16-16-8. The road continues to be especially hard for Ruff’s troops, too. Dallas has captured just two of the last 10 games away from American Airlines Center.
Los Angeles (20-16-4) can somewhat relate to the Stars’ plight. One year removed from putting up 102 points, Darryl Sutter’s team currently occupies fifth place in the Pacific Division. Saturday’s 4-3 overtime triumph against Minnesota was encouraging, though, as Jeff Carter potted his 22nd goal. The veteran forward trails Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby by four for the league lead.
If this tilt also requires an extra session, chalk up a win for the Kings without delay. They’re 8-1 in such situations thus far, thanks largely to Peter Budaj’s steadiness in net. One way or the other, however, we’re eying a pretty stagnant offensive affair.
MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: STARS/KINGS UNDER 5 GOALS