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L.A. Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks Free Picks & NHL Preview

Kings vs Hawks NHL Spread/Handicapping

Slumping Kings Take on Suddenly Mortal Blackhawks

The Los Angeles Kings will attempt to snap a 126 minute streak without a goal on Monday night when they head to the Windy City to take on a Chicago team that is still miles ahead in the NHL overall standings but has three regulation losses in their last 10 games.

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Los Angeles Kings (17-12-1-1) at Chicago Blackhawks (24-3-0-3)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, March 25, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-CH
Kings vs. Hawks Betting Lines from Bovada
Los Angeles Kings +1½ -240 +124 Ov 5 -126
Chicago Blackhawks -1½ +200 -137 Un 5 +114

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While the Hawks have been remarkably consistent this year, the Kings have been all over the map and are in the midst of one of their sketchy stretches. This will be the third and final meeting of the season between the two teams – Chicago has won both so far during their incredible history making start to the regular season.

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The Los Angeles Kings looked as though they had turned the corner after an average start to their season but lately they have fallen back to the form that saw them become one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL last season. The Kings have averaged a middle-of-the-pack 2.81 goals per game this season but they have failed to score in the last two games – home losses to Dallas and a short-handed Vancouver Canucks team. The Kings have generated 60 shots on goal in those games but have not been able to get one past the keeper.

A look at the output of the stars on the team reveals the reasons for the recent goal scoring woes. Team leader in goals Jeff Carter is pointless in his last three games, Dustin Brown is pointless in four games and stud defenseman Slava Voynov has been held off the score sheet in his last four overall.

Goaltending and defense have been predictably good this season. The Kings allow 2.42 goals per game despite Jonathan Quick looking average at times. But he hasn’t been the problem lately. Quick is just 1-2-0 in his last three games but does have a very good 1.01 GAA and .957 save % age over that span.

The Chicago Blackhawks return home on the heels of a 3-1-0 road trip. Their only loss came against the other monster of the West – the Anaheim Ducks. They are facing a little adversity for the first time this season – Marion Hossa sat out Friday and is questionable Monday and Patrick Sharp remains on IR.[ad-4437448]

Chicago enters Monday night’s contest as one of the best defensive teams in the league. They are allowing just 2.10 goals per game – incredible. Corey Crawford has been in goal for all three of Chicago’s three losses but he has been terrific on the whole. He has a sterling 1.86 goals against average and a .926 save % age on the season.

Offensively the Hawks are near the top of the league as well. They average 3.27 goals per game so far and are absolutely stacked up front. Jonathan Toews has four goals and three assists in his past three games, Patrick Kane has seven points in three games and there are six others on the Hawks roster that are averaging a point per game in their last three. Chicago is as deep a team as there is in the league – on offense and on defense.

Needless to say – there are absolutely no weaknesses on this team.

Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:

• LA are 15-3 in their last 18 Mon. games.
• CHI are 9-2 in their last 11 vs. Pacific.
• Under is 11-4-1 in CHI last 16 home games.
• CHI are 19-7 in their last 26 Mon. games.
• Under is 19-5-3 in the last 27 meetings in Chicago.
• LA are 2-7 in the last 9 meetings in Chicago.

You certainly don’t want to be a struggling team when faced with the prospect of taking on the league’s best team. Unfortunately for the Kings, that is exactly what they are. Although there is a slight smell of a break-out for the Kings in this one, betting against Chicago has been suicide this season. They have lost just once at United Center all year – I can’t see the bumbling Kings making it two.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -137


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