St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings - 1/16/14
Los Angeles Kings (28-14-5) at St. Louis Blues (32-8-5)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Scottrade Center)
The Line: St. Louis Blues -163 / Los Angeles Kings +148 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
TV: NBCSN, TSN2
Two of the Western Conference’s best teams will skate in St. Louis as the Blues welcome the Los Angeles Kings into the Scottrade Center on Thursday night.
The Kings will kick off a five game roadie on Thursday, but the team is just 3-6-1 over the last ten games. Los Angeles enters Scottrade after a dogfight of a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Los Angeles expected a chippy game against Vancouver following a game where the Kings’ Dustin Brown injured Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo in a collision. The 1-0 Los Angeles victory saw 23 penalties and 109 penalty minutes between the two sides. On Wednesday, the Kings moved backup goalie Ben Scrivens to Edmonton and recalled rookie Martin Jones. With Brian Quick making five consecutive starts since returning from an injury it is plausible that Jones could get the nod against the Blues, but a starter has not been named at this point.
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The St. Louis Blues have their own goalie issues to deal with at the moment. Jaroslav Halak, who made 20 saves in a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday, just returned from a five game absence and is now 19-6-3 on the season. The problem for the Blues is that Halak’s “backup” has performed at an elite level this season. Brian Elliot currently ranks third in the NHL in goals against average at 1.86 per game and has 13 wins in 16 starts on the year. At the moment Halak is slated to start between the pipes on Thursday, but I can see either of the two getting the start considering Elliot has played in seven of the last nine games for St. Louis.
In the last eight meetings between these two teams the home squad is 7-1, and the Kings are 0-5 in the last five road games. St. Louis is 5-0 in its last five games agaisnt teams with a winning record. The Kings are an extremely physical team, but the Blues have a hybrid of physicality and offensive finesse. With Los Angeles coming off of one of the most physical games of the season, I can see a bit of sluggish play from the Kings against a sharp Blues club. However, the market reflects the strong home ice advantage for a strong St. Louis team. With the heavy price on the St. Louis side, I think the total may be worth a look. In the last four meetings the under is 2-0-2, and goals should be hard to come by for both sides in this game. I think the strongest play in this game is the Blues here on home ice.