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Last night’s pick goes to show just how difficult this gig can be at times. I had the Penguins and Oilers to get OVER the 5.5 total at a great price of +120 and I was very confident in that pick given all the moving parts involved. You had the Penguins who, when at their best, are one of the league’s best all-round offenses squaring off against the league’s second worst defensive team. In fact, you had the Penguins up against a back up goalie and the Penguins goaltender had a 3.63 goals against average over his previous six contests. Turns out Marc-Andre Fleury was due for a big game as he delivered a shutout and the Penguins were held relatively in check by a poor Oilers defensive unit. The final score was 2-0 for Pittsburgh and the third period was a scoreless one, sending us to a loss to go 1-1 on the week so far. I really thought we were in for a nice winner at a great price on this one, however sometimes the tables can get turned on a dime and the numbers heading in to the game are rendered useless. Let’s turn our attention to tonight’s games as there are nine games across the league this evening.
Los Angeles Kings @ Florida Panthers
My Pick – KINGS -.5 IN REGULATION (+138)
There weren’t too many people who would have thought that the Florida Panthers would have the same amount of point as the L.A. Kings this deep in to the season, however both teams currently sit with 54 points on the year heading in to tonight’s contest in Sunrise, Florida. Tonight’s game will mark the third game of a five-game road trip for the Kings as they have dropped the first two games of the trip and are desperately looking for two points this evening as they currently sit five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Kings knocked off the Panthers earlier in the season with a 5-2 victory in L.A. but they have won just two of their last 11 games thus giving us great odds in this one. Florida hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire with their play as of late either, despite knocking off the Islanders by a 4-2 count on Tuesday night. Prior to Tuesday, the Panthers had dropped seven of their last eight games and were starved for offense throughout that stretch. Florida will likely give tonight’s nod in goal to Roberto Luongo after he gave way to backup Al Montoya in Tuesday’s victory, despite Luongo facing some demons against these Kings. Los Angeles knocked off Luongo when he was with the Vancouver Canucks on two occasions in the playoffs, most recently in 2012. Luongo is 0-6-2 with a 3.59 goals against average against his former Western Conference foe and will be relied upon this evening to stop Florida’s slide against L.A. The Kings have won ten of their last 11 games against the Panthers and a Florida offense that scores only 2.39 goals per game will be in tough against a Kings team that has been one of the best defensive teams in the NHL over the last few seasons. Over Los Angeles’ last ten games, the team as yielded less than 24 shots against per game, and despite the poor results that is a number that is scary to look at if you are a Florida Panther. Jonathan Quick will get back to his norm of elite goaltending sooner than later and if they continue to give up miniscule amounts of shots per game, this Kings team will definitely find their way back to the playoffs once again this season. Take the Kings to win this one in regulation and get back on track tonight against the Panthers.