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LA vs. St. Louis Game 2 NHL Playoff Free Picks | Preview

LA Kings vs St. Louis Blues Pick

The top two defensive teams in the NHL do battle once again in Game 2 of their Western Conference semi-final on Monday night. The difference maker in Game 1 – no other than Jonathan Quick.

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Kings Look to Take Stranglehold Monday Night

The Blues will need to show why they were the NHL’s best home team during the regular season (just five regulation losses) or they will put themselves in an almost insurmountable hole!

Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues
When: 9:00 PM ET, Monday, April 30, 2012
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Broadcast: CNBC, TSN
Kings lead series 1-0
Kings vs. Blues Betting Lines from betonline.com
Spread: Blues -1 ½ (+195)
Moneyline: Kings +145: Blues -160
Over/Under: 5 goals

Matchup | Preview

The Los Angeles Kings played the perfect road game on Saturday evening and they brought a similar game that made the Vancouver Canucks look overmatched in the first round. Tenacious forechecking, stellar physical play and attention to detail were on full display in Game 1 as was the insane play of some guy named Jonathan Quick.

It is hard to imagine that the Kings are 5-1 in the playoffs and Jeff Carter has been held pointless for five straight and Mike Richards has just one goal over that span. But it’s true – different guys are stepping up each and every night for Los Angeles – against Vancouver it was Dustin Brown and in Game 1 of this series it was Dustin Penner – seriously! Offensively, the Kings are proving to be deeper than advertised and a whole lot tougher to play against than most could have imagined.

How about Jonathan Quick. He was simply sensational in Game 1 and looks virtually unbeatable at this point in time. In the playoffs he is 5-1 with a 1.44 goals against average. In Game 1 he stopped 28 of 29 shots (many of highlight reel quality) and in his last two games he has a 0.97 goals against average and a .964 save percentage. [ad-4437448]

The St. Louis Blues had their chances in Game 1 but they were unable to solve Mr. Quick. Now they face the prospect of playing without their top offensive defenseman Alex Pietrangelo who is in danger of missing Game 2 due to a concussion he sustained in Game 1. The Blues have to be better on Monday – Los Angeles is on a roll!

It’s not like the Blues have struggled offensively – Andy McDonald has six points in his last four games, David Perron has four points in three games and Patrik Berglund has five points in four. But there are some names conspicuously absent on the Blues Hot List – Chris Stewart is pointless in five games and Jason Arnott and Alex Steen haven’t recorded a point in three. Another troubling trend – the Blues are 0-17 on the power play this season against the Kings including 0-3 on Saturday night.

Brian Elliot will likely get the start in goal on Monday although Jaroslav Halak is close to returning from injury. Elliot is 2-1-0 with a very good 1.34 goals against average and .950 save percentage in the last three games.

Betting Prediction: LA is 9-4 in their last 13 games following a win but is 6-14 in the last 20 meetings in St. Louis. The Kings are 4-0 on the road so far in this year’s playoffs.

The Los Angeles Kings have everything going at the moment – their strong physical play is the X-factor going into Game 2 and the rest of the series for that matter. Without Alex Pietrangelo the Blues appear to be in some trouble against the punishing bruising play of Los Angeles. The skaters will continue to pound the Blues and Jonathan Quick will do the rest on Monday.

Pick: Los Angeles Kings +145

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