Phoenix Coyotes (32-25-11) at Los Angeles Kings (38-24-6)
|Date & Time||Monday March 17, 2014, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Los Angeles Kings -178 / Phoenix Coyotes +162 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Kings look to end a mini two game slide as they host the Coyotes on Monday who are looking to sneak into the final playoff spot in the West.
The Phoenix Coyotes have been a thorn in the side of many in the Western Conference over the past couple of seasons as a team that lacks a superstar presence continues to find ways to get into the playoffs and has overachieved in doing so. It was these Coyotes who ousted the then defending champion Blackhawks from the postseason two years ago and while they were bounced early last year they still sent other teams packing who probably should have made it in over themselves. Phoenix is in the same boat once again this year however they were considered a playoff type team in the preseason and have actually underachieved based on expectations laid out for them. The Coyotes are tied with the Stars in points but sit in ninth place with 75 points and will need to turn up their game if they’re going to slip into one of the bottom seeds in the Conference. Mike Smith gets the call in goal as he goes up against Jonathan Quick for the Kings.
The Kings have dropped back to back games after ripping off eight in a row before that and while they’re still one of the better teams since coming back from the Olympics they sit in sixth place in the West and have Minnesota hot on their heels. While it is unfathomable to thin that the Kings are the sixth best team in a 14 team conference that is exactly what we have thanks to a stacked Central and Pacific division that hosts the top three teams in the league and six of the top eight including Los Angeles who has more points that the Eastern Conference’s third seed from Montreal. Los Angeles is unlikely to catch the Blackhawks or the Avalanche for fourth or fifth place so a sixth seed is their most likely destination which would set up a road matchup against either the Sharks or Ducks in the opening round. As for tonight’s contest the Kings are pretty heavy favourites despite only sitting seven points up on the Coyotes in the standings but I think LA matches up very well here and if Quick can stay on pace with Smith or surpass him I think the Kings get an easy win.