After a slow start, the Los Angeles Kings have shaken off the Stanley Cup hangover and are back to Cup form.
The Kings managed just three wins in their first 10 games but have since picked up victories in seven of their last eight, and seem to be back to their low-scoring ways that earned them Stanley Cup honors last season.
The main reason the Kings are back on track is because they’re
playing good defensive hockey. Los Angeles hasn’t surrendered more than
two goals in each of its last five contests (1-3-1 O/U) thanks in part
to the dynamic goaltending duo of Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier.
Quick is riding a personal three-game win streak into Vancouver on
Saturday after a shaky start and Bernier is the owner of a sparkling
1.64 GAA in five appearances.
Early injuries to defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene forced the Kings to do some shuffling on the back end and Anze Kopitar wasn’t at 100 percent out of the gate because of a knee injury he sustained playing overseas during the lockout. Mitchell and Greene remain out with injuries, but the Kings helped fill the gap by acquiring Keaton Ellerby from the Panthers in early February.
After Saturday’s tilt north of the border, the Kings return to L.A. for a five-game homestand. Los Angeles has an impressive 5-1-1 record at Staples Center, where it will clash with one of the best under bets in the league - the Nashville Predators (6-14-1 O/U) on Monday night.
The Kings had 9/1 odds to repeat as Stanley Cup champs at the beginning of the shortened season, but they’ve slid all the way to 22/1 in NHL futures at some books.