Meandering Los Angeles tries to find its way
Currently one of three winless squads in the NHL, the Kings are hurting in a big way. And we’re not just talking about the injury to their most important player.
A lower-body issue forced goaltender Jonathan Quick out of last week’s season opener vs. San Jose. It’s been a picture of malaise ever since in Los Angeles, though Darryl Sutter’s crew desperately wants to avoid getting dusted by a Western Conference behemoth tonight. Dallas, a one-goal favorite in the eyes of oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv, welcomes the Kings to town at 8:30 p.m. ET. The visitors enter American Airlines Center as +125 underdogs.
Quick’s replacement, Jeff Zatkof, is 0-3-0 with a 4.37 GAA and an .839 save percentage. Yet the team’s inability to generate much offense has been nearly as harmful in the early going. Los Angeles can point to just six goals through 180 minutes of action. So far, only the Blue Jackets have experienced more futility.
Meanwhile, the Stars resemble the same group that raced to 109 points a year ago. Tyler Seguin, having successfully overcome an Achilles’ tear that sabotaged his playoff availability in May, and Jamie Benn are pacing Lindy Ruff’s gang in the area of production. Surprisingly, however, veteran banger Adam Cracknell’s added a pair of tallies as well.
Dallas’ superior balance gives it the edge in the majority of contests, and this evening’s no exception. The Kings must figure out a way to remain competitive in the face of major adversity, but the Stars accommodate no one. Look for the hosts’ speed and skill to carry the day.
THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: KINGS/STARS OVER 5.5 GOALS