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

Kings vs Blackhawks NHL Line & Handicapping

Western Conference Elite Clash – Kings Visit Blackhawks Monday Night

A rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Final highlights a light night in the NHL Monday when the Los Angeles Kings try to put an end to a two game losing streak by visiting the Windy City.

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Los Angeles (25-10-2-2) at Chicago (27-7-2-5)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, December 30, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-CH
Kings vs. Hawks Betting Lines
Los Angeles Kings +1½ -250 +123 Ov 5½ +109
Chicago Blackhawks -1½ +210 -135 Un 5½ -120

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Chicago won the only meeting of the season between the two clubs and has won four straight against Los Angeles on home ice including all three in the Western Final last year.

The Los Angeles Kings are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games overall and yet they find themselves in third place in the very tough and competitive Pacific Division. Off two straight losses things won’t get a whole lot easier as they finish off a four game road trip with visits to Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis.

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The Kings have been just an average offensive team this year – typical for what we expect from this squad. Anze Kopitar has a goal and three assists in his past four games, Jeff Carter has 10 points in eight games, Justin Williams has three points in three games and Drew Doughty has three points in his last three contests. They were held to one goal in the first 59 minutes Saturday but scored with the net empty only to lose in regulation.

IF LA is going to get it done Monday it is going to have to be defense that steps up. The Kings are predictably among the best in terms of goals against – just 1.97 goals surrendered per game. Rookie sensation Martin Jones could get the call Monday after Ben Scrivens started Saturday – he is 8-1-0 with a 1.31 goals-against average and three shutouts.

For the Chicago Blackhawks everything is going well – 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. Even when they don’t play well like they did in a 6-5 shootout loss to St. Louis, they still manage to pick up a point in the standings.

For the Hawks, the offense has come alive after a brief hiatus – 17 goals in their last three games. The team averages a staggering 3.73 goals per game and has been led by the incredible Patrick Kane who looks like the best player on the planet at the moment.
Kane has eight goals and 17 assists during a 14 game point streak dating back to November 29. Patrick Sharp has six goals in three games and has 12 goals and 22 points in 16 career home meetings, Jonathan Toews has three goals and 12 assists over his last 10 games and defenseman Duncan Keith has six assists in his past three games. Yup – things are good in Detroit

Antti Raanta should get the start in net – he has been very good in relief of Corey Crawford – he had allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of 13 games before yielding five on 25 shots Saturday. He stopped 21 shots and surrendered only a late third-period goal to beat the Kings earlier this month. Raanta is 9-1-3 this season and outside of one game he has been superb.

Dave’s FREE NHL Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:
• LA are 9-3 in their last 12 overall.
• Under is 17-6-8 in LA last 31 road games.
• LA are 19-7 in their last 26 Mon. games.
• CHI are 8-2 in their last 10 vs. Pacific.
• CHI are 41-14 in their last 55 home games.
• Over is 8-3 in CHI last 11 home games.
• Under is 21-8-3 in the last 32 meetings in Chicago.
• Under is 36-17-8 in the last 61 meetings.

Let’s face it the Chicago Blackhawks are stacked – the best team in the NFL. Everybody is hot on this team. The Kings are a tier below the Hawks – Monday will prove it.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -135


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