Los Angeles Kings (34-23-14) at New Jersey Devils (31-30-11)
|Date & Time||Monday March 23, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils +131 / Los Angeles Kings -145 --- Over/Under: 4.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
It wasn’t the outcome that the Los Angeles Kings were looking for on Saturday afternoon with a chance to vault themselves back into the playoff picture. The Kings were facing the Vancouver Canucks, a club they found themselves two points behind in the Pacific Division standings. Marian Gaborik’s 22nd goal of the year came on the power play early in the second period to give the Kings the lead, but it was the only bright spot in an overall lackluster performance. Los Angeles allowed the Canucks to tie the game late in the period before watching as the Canucks seized control in the third. Vancouver capitalized on a lack of discipline from the Kings when Tyler Toffoli was handed down a game misconduct for boarding. The Canucks would add two more goals as they sent the Kings to a 4-1 defeat. Not only did Los Angeles miss a golden opportunity to catch the Canucks, but the Calgary Flames also picked up a point in an overtime loss and upped their lead to two points over the Kings. It’s still difficult to see this Kings team not finding a way to get into the post season with all the pedigree and experience they have in their lineup. The club will have to make up a lot of ground on the road as they embark on a five game road trip that takes them to the tri-state area for three games before traveling to Minnesota and Chicago. This isn’t an easy trip by any means for the Kings, who are a woeful 12-14-7 away from the Staples Center on the year. Getting off to a good start on this trip with a victory over a team that is out of playoff contention like the New Jersey Devils is extremely important, because the rest of this trip won’t be as easy.
For the New Jersey Devils this season has been a complete and utter failure. This club had expectations of making the playoffs heading into the year, and with a mostly veteran laden roster that was understandable. Instead of watching those veterans thrive and help carry the younger players, they looked old and slow. Patrik Elias looks like a shell of himself, Dainius Zubrus has had an awful year, and Jaromir Jagr was dealt to the Florida Panthers right before the trading deadline. Some of the younger players like Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique have had up and down years as well for a club that has holes everywhere in the lineup and struggles to score goals. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back the Devils were looking to follow up a win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday with another one against the New York Islanders. Instead, they found themselves unable to generate much against Jaroslav Halak. New Jersey managed just 26 shots on goal and were shut out by a final score of 3-0. Now the Devils have to get ready for their third game in four nights against a team that clearly has them beat on the talent scale and that is playing for their playoff lives. It’s a difficult stretch to end the season here as the Devils have games against Washington, Anaheim, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Florida, and two against the New York Rangers.
It’s a tough spot for the Kings who had to fly cross-country after Saturday afernoon’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks. With the way this road trip is laid out for the Kings Monday night’s contest is an absolute must-win.