Los Angeles Kings (29-18-12) at Anaheim Ducks (38-17-7)
|Date & Time||Friday February 27, 2015, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -120 / Los Angeles Kings +109 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Kings play their second game in as many nights as they head from the Staples Center to the Honda Center to do battle with their division and in state rivals from Anaheim.
The Kings are the defending Cup champions but with the absence of Slava Voynov and the team struggling through most of the first half of the season they were written off by a number of people and were thought to be left for dead. However, an impressive winning streak that has reached eight games (could be nine after the Ottawa game) has them right back in the mix in the Pacific division and now they have defensive help on the way in the form of Andrej Sekera that cost them a pretty penny to obtain. Los Angeles has had to endure some hard ships this season including the aforementioned saga with Voynov and his ongoing domestic violence saga and the regression and ultimate release of Mike Richards has taken its toll but they are a battle tested group and are a side that nobody wants to see come playoff time. They are right in the mix with the Canucks, Flames, and Sharks and the seeding in the Pacific division playoff bracket could come down to the wire and we can expect that the Kings will be heavily involved.
The Ducks meanwhile have been the class of the Pacific for most of the season and while their lead has been trimmed over the last couple of weeks they still hold the biggest division lead in hockey and are likely to claim the division crown. Anaheim is a very talented team that can beat you in a number of different ways and it looks as though they will get Frederik Andersen back between the pipes and while youngster John Gibson is going to have a very successful career it just doesn't look like he is quite there yet to lead this team. Anaheim will likely make a deal or two as well come Tuesday as they can shore up another spot on the blue line and perhaps add a role player up top but they will be very tough to beat in a seven game set and at this rate they are likely to face off against one of the two Western Conference wild cards in the opening round. As for tonight, this should be a blood bath and with Andersen likely to return and LA in a back to back I think we see the under here with conviction.