St. Louis Blues vs LA Kings Pick
The St. Louis Blues – the best home team in the NHL during the regular season head out on the road Thursday after losing the first two games of their semi-finals series on home ice. The daunting task ahead – trying to slow an uber-confident Kings squad in front of what is sure to be an amped up Staples Center crowd in Game 3.
St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings
When: 10:00 PM ET, Thursday, May 3, 2012
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Broadcast: TSN, NBCSN, RDS
Kings lead series 2-0
Blues vs. Kings Betting Lines from betonline.com
Spread: Kings -1 ½ (+265)
Moneyline: Blues +104: Kings -115
Over/Under: 5 goals
The St. Louis Blues won both road games in their 1st round series against San Jose – that’s the good news! Now for the bad – the Blues have struggled in this series in the one aspect that carried them to the second seed in the Western Conference – goaltending.
St. Louis fell behind early in Game 2, 4-0 after the first period and they could now claw their way back against the Kings and Jonathan Quick. One reason is the power play that has gone 0-12 in the series and in now 0-26 this season versus the Los Angeles Kings. Andy McDonald isn’t the only Blues forward consistently contributing so far in the playoffs however – five goals and five assists so far – David Backes has been strong with three points in two games and David Perron has four points in four games. Some secondary scoring would be nice – Jason Arnott and Alex Steen are pointless is four games and Chris Stewart is pointless in five.
The real story of this series is between the pipes however. With Jaroslav Halak injured, Brian Elliot has bumbled his way to a 0-2-0 record with a 3.56 GAA and .857 save percentage.
How about them Kings? They have been remarkable this postseason in defeating the favorite Canucks and beating the league’s best home team in the first two games of this series. The Kings offense that was 29th in the NHL during the regular season is 4th in the playoffs with an average of nearly three goals per game. Dustin Penner has remarkable had two consecutive multi-point games, Dustin Brown has four points in two games and Mike Richards has three points in two games to lead the way.
Jonathan Quick continues to see his stock rise during these playoffs. He is 5-1-0 in his last six starts with a 1.49 goals against average and a .956 save percentage. Unlike the Blues, the Kings have a wall between the pipes for them – it is going to be difficult to penetrate!
Betting Prediction: The Kings have lost just one game at home so far in the playoffs – they have only played two while the Blues have won both of their road games so far in the playoffs.
Los Angeles certainly looks like the team to beat in the West. In front of an amped home town crowd it is hard to imagine the Kings and their physical brand of hockey being denied. In a series in which attention to detail is winning the battle expect the Kings to emerge victorious once again Thursday night.
Pick: Los Angeles Kings -115