Underachieving clubs face off on West Coast

Underachieving squads 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.

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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.

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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

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