In a game that could certainly help decide home ice in the playoffs, the two hottest teams in hockey will meet tonight as the Los Angeles Kings visit the Edmonton Oilers.
Combined, both teams are 20-6 SU this month, and the Kings lead the Oilers by one point (with a game in hand) for the second spot in the Central Division. Both teams will be playing their fourth game in six nights but it's the Oilers who have gotten 15 points longer and dropped both meetings this season.
Find out my best bet in our NHL picks and predictions for Kings vs. Oilers on Thursday, March 30.
Kings vs Oilers best odds
Kings vs Oilers picks and predictions
Only the Penguins are generating more shots on net/60 at 5-on-5 than the Kings at 35.5 per game, while LA sits fourth in expected goals for/60 (xGF/60) at even strength this month. With an opening total of 7, two-way scoring is almost certain tonight and that has me leaning on the Kings’ player point totals.
Adrian Kempe leads the team in points this month with 12 in 12 games. He’s playing on the first line and the first power-play unit, which might get some work after going 4-for-7 in the last meeting vs. Edmonton, where Kempe had three points.
He’ll have plenty of opportunities tonight to find the scoresheet, as he’s playing the second-most minutes of all the LA forwards and faces an Oilers team that ranks 23rd in save percentage at 5-on-5 this month. Starting goalie Stuart Skinner has a 3.57 GAA and a .878 Sv% over his last seven starts.
I love this matchup for the Kings, who have sneakily been one of the best offenses this month at 4.00 goals per game on a repeatable shooting percentage. Their issues in net (more Pheonix Copley than Joonas Korpisalo) should also keep the offense engaged.
Kempe has recorded a point in seven of his 12 games this month, but in a high-total game facing weak goaltending, getting a top-line PP-1 skater to record a point at -125 is solid value. I make the fair price -140 in a game where LA could flirt with four goals.
My best bet: Adrian Kempe Over 0.5 points (-125)
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Kings vs Oilers moneyline analysis
The market has liked the Kings since Edmonton opened at -160, and has moved to as long as -145 as of this afternoon.
Looking at the form, both teams have had an incredible month, as the Kings are 9-1-2 in March with a +1.92 goal differential per game. At 5-on-5, L.A. has been a Top-2 team in CF%, xGF%, HCF%, and SV% while also having a sustainable 9.38 shooting percentage. The record is certainly warranted, despite many having doubts that the Kings are legit.
Looking at the favorites, Edmonton has taken 15 of a possible 16 points over its last eight games and has an 11-2-1 record this month with the No.1 offense at 4.71 goals per game. This scoring might be unsustainable and has been built on the backs of some poor defensive opponents in Vegas (x2), Arizona (x2), San Jose, Seattle, and Ottawa.
The Oilers’ 3.57 GAA this month ranks 24th thanks to the league’s 29th-ranked save percentage. However, a shooting percentage of 14.6% has helped correct the goaltending mistakes. Both numbers should settle, but the shooting percentage is by far the biggest issue and regression is going to hurt if they can’t get any goaltending.
On the season. Edmonton has a league-leading 11.94 shooting percentage, which is well above the league average, but the home side will have a tough test vs. likely starter Copley and a team that sits second in hockey in expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5 this month.
The Kings have rotated goalies evenly and it will likely be Copley’s crease tonight. He’s an incredible 23-4-1 this season and like the goaltending in New Jersey, the netminder doesn’t need to stop 30 pucks a night to get the win. L.A. allows the fourth-fewest shots per game but can also score, ranking second in xGF% and first in GF% at 5-on-5 this month. Their 94.5 Sv% at 5-on-5 this month is also a Top-3 mark.
Even if Copley sits out a second straight game, Korpisalo is 4-1-1 with a 1.82 GAA and a .931 save percentage in six games with the Kings. I like the Kings even with Copley in net and see their metrics this month as more repeatable where the Oilers have run up the score vs. some bad goaltenders and teams of late.
My only concern with the Kings is the penalty kill, which is under 75% this month and facing the best power play in hockey. However, the Kings managed four power-play goals themselves in the last meeting in January, while blanking the Oilers, who went 0-for-6 with the man advantage in the 6-3 L.A. victory. The Kings closed as -105 home dogs in that game.
Kings vs Oilers Over/Under analysis
This total opened at 7 and has seen a roughly 5-point move to the Under.
This is a meeting of two of the highest-scoring offenses in hockey this month, as the Oilers are seeing an average of 8.28 total goals per game and the Kings sit at 6.08 total goals per game, but are also scoring 4.00 in March.
At 5-on-5, both teams are creating a ton of offense and both sit in the Top 7 in xGF, scoring chances for/60, and high-danger chances for/60. The Kings have been the much better defensive team, ranking first in xGA/60 this month at 5-on-5 but have been getting some overachieving goaltending from Korpisalo while Copley has a sub-.900 save percentage since January and is coming off a six-goal performance vs. the Blues.
Looking at special teams, both power plays have been great this month. Edmonton has the No.1 power play at 36.2% while L.A. ranks eighth at 25%. The last meeting saw a total of 10 combined power-play opportunities with four extra-strength goals. Both penalty kills rank in the bottom half of the league in success rate this month. These two teams do not like each other, which could create more penalties and power-play opportunities,
This is the first total of 7 that the Kings have seen this season. If Copley's the starter, I’d feel more confident in the Over 7 but would prefer to take the Kings’ team total Over 3.5 at +130, both teams to score in the first period at +120, or both teams to score three goals at +120.
Kings vs Oilers betting trend to know
The Kings are 9-2 in their last 11 games vs. Pacific. Find more NHL betting trends for Kings vs Oilers.
Kings vs Oilers game info
|Location:||Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB|
|Date:||Thursday, March 30, 2023|
|Puck drop:||9:00 p.m. ET|