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St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings Betting Preview

Late Monday night, the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings will face off in Hollywood. Both teams have been struggling as of late, with the fourth place Blues hoping to snap a four-game losing streak and the fifth-place Kings dropping seven of their last nine.

Here is a closer look at this game, from important stats to players to watch. Right now, St. Louis is favored at -150, with LA the +135 underdog at home.

By the Numbers

Offensively, these teams aren’t all that far apart. The Blues hold a slight advantage in goals per game with 3.11 compared to the Kings’ total of 2.89. St. Louis also averages more than a shot on goal more and holds a slight advantage in overall shooting percentage. However, the Kings have a top-10 power play at 25.3 percent, an improvement over the Blues and their 17th ranked power play of just under 20 percent.

Defensively, LA maintains most of the advantages. The Kings are allowing 2.85 goals per game, 13th in the NHL, with the Blues giving up 3.21. Now while St. Louis gives up more goals, they do it with a little under 30 shots allowed, giving up an average of two less than Los Angeles. However, the Kings hold a major edge on the penalty kill. LA.’sP.K.K unit is seventh with an 83.7 percent success rate, while St. Louis is just 25th with a 74.2 percent rate.

Blues Betting Preview

The Blues have gone from a four-game winning streak to a four-game losing streak, although they have earned at least a point in all but one of those games. The wins and losses flipped when they split a two-game series against the Kings, so now St. Louis hopes to reverse it again as they begin a six-game road trip.

If there’s one positive about these last few games, it’s the return of Vladimir Tarasenko. The sniper has been rolling in his first four games of the year following shoulder surgery, registering a goal and racking up assists in three straight contests. Along with Tarasenko, veteran Ryan O’Reilly has been able to earn points in four of the last five games, with four games coming a couple of weeks ago against LA. The team’s leading point-producer David Perron is another player who torched the Kings, netting three goals and an assist against them two weekends ago.

In net, look for the Blues to turn to Jordan Binnington once again. Binnington is 9-6-4 with a 2.81 GAA and .906 save percentage, aiming for just his second win in the month of March.

Kings Betting Preview

The Kings have lost seven of their last nine games, most recently a pair of L’s to the Avalanche. However, they have found some success this year against the Blues. In six meetings, Los Angeles has gone 4-1-1, with three of those wins coming in regulation. Any hope the Kings have to close that five-point gap that separates them in the standings will be greatly affected after the next couple of days.

Los Angeles will be led by the red-hot Adrian Kempe. The wing scored five goals in a pair of games last week following a goal scored against St. Louis to give him 11 on the year.

The team leader in points, though, is Anze Kopitar, who torched the Blues for two goals and two assists several days ago and has at least a point in seven out of his last eight appearances. Defenseman Drew Doughty is another player to watch, as he delivered three assists over the last week and has played an important defensive role whenever he’s taken on the Blues.

With both Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen currently on the shelf, the Kings may once again have to turn to Troy Grosenick. The 31-year old had to step in last Wednesday and gave up just one goal on 34 shots in a win over the Ducks, his first appearance since 2014.

Betting Pick

There are obvious concerns about how Grosenick will fare against a team like the Blues, but making 33 saves in his lone start last week is a good sign. These teams are more even than the public may think, with LA actually being the superior defensive team altogether. Look for the Kings to challenge the Blues in their own zone while aiming to capitalize on their power play advantages. At plus-money, give me the home underdogs to take this one.

Pick: Kings +135

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