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Minnesota Wild vs L.A. Kings Gambling Preview & Free NHL Picks

Wild vs Kings NHL Handicapping

Monday night’s game in SoCal will be played by two teams that have postseason designs, but neither of which have yet clinched a playoff berth. The L.A. Kings are looking like a foregone conclusion for playoff hockey, but it’s all hands on deck until they clinch.

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Date/Time: Monday, March 31 2014, 10 pm EST
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles CA
Line: Kings -170
Total: 5

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The Kings have been playing some more reliable puck as of late, going 7-3 in their last ten and being cemented by the super-steady Jonathan Quick in net. Following the Minnesota game, L.A. has a tricky Eastern Conference road trip ahead, which will determine precisely how its playoff aspirations take shape.

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Minnesota also has a lot to like on its roster, but the Wild must desperately settle the goaltending situation before it’s too late. With Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom often injured and rookie Darcy Kuemper usually ineffective, the most important position on the ice is in flux for the Wild.

Years of Philadelphia Flyers teams have proven that you can have an excellent product in terms of position players, but if you don’t have the goaltending, your goose is cooked. What makes this strange is that there was a time when Backstrom was one of the better goalie options in the league, and even Harding was awesome earlier on before injuries derailed him.

It just shows how fickle the goaltender position is.

Any team constructed around gutsy Zach Parise, goal-scoring Matt Moulson and blueline stud Ryan Suter should be successful; with any improvement between the pipes, Minnesota will be. It is currently scrapping for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference and it may be a case of ensuring the Wild get in, and then their focus can sharpen. Still, it must concern those rabid hockey fans in the Twin Cities.
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For L.A’s part, it’s a team that is simply built for the grind of playoff hockey. The Kings meld world-class talent (Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty) with unheralded grinders (Trevor Lewis, Dwight King and Jake Muzzin, to name a few) like few teams can. Throw in the great athleticism of Quick, and the Kings really bring every element to the table.

They’re definitely a team that no one wants to draw in the first round.

As the standings sit currently, both teams would be in the postseason, but Phoenix only sit three points back of Minny and Dallas is lurking one point behind the ‘Yotes, so there can’t afford to be any slip-ups particularly for Minnesota. The Wild are only playing .500 hockey in their last ten games, so Parise and Co. have to catch a wave of momentum in the last week or so of the regular season.

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Basically, there should be a palpable sense of urgency from both of these clubs. For any team in the hunt that hasn’t yet clinched a spot, it’s pedal to the metal until it happens. The Wild dearly hope that they can score enough goals to overcome the shaky play in net. The Kings hope that a couple of more wins put the exclamation point on the regular season, as they push for 100 points.

I see Minnesota’s desperation paying off, as the Kings get ready to go on the road a little more comfortable in their playoff skin – and therefore maybe just a wee bit complacent.

Minnesota 3, Los Angeles 2

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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