NHL Game Preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Walker DanielsCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2011

Anze Kopitar
Anze KopitarChristian Petersen/Getty Images

Sports Betting Overview

The Los Angeles Kings stumbled for a while after they had gotten off to a great start. The Kings were near the top of the Western Conference before the college basketball betting had started, but it only lasted 15 to 20 games. As the NHL trade deadline approaches, the Kings have clawed their way back into playoff contention. Los Angeles is giving all of the betting services fits by continually winning games that they were losing just four weeks ago.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in trouble. There is no really good way to put it. Sidney Crosby is still out with concussion symptoms and there is no timetable for his return. Now, Evgeni Malkin is also out with a leg injury and it looks like Malkin is gone for the season. Now that their top two scorers are out for an extended period, the Penguins must rely on grit and goaltending. Grit they have a lot of, but the goaltending could fail at any moment.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Evgeni Malkin was hurt in a game against the Sabres a week ago. The Penguins won the game against the Sabres, but since the injury Pittsburgh has gone on a two-game losing streak. They have a lot of fight, but they lack serious a goal-scoring punch. The most recent loss was a 4-1 drubbing by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Marc-Andre Fleury gave up four goals and lost his second game in a row. The game before that was a 3-0 loss to the Penguins. The third goal was an empty net goal. Since Malkin’s injury, the Penguins have scored one goal and given up six in two games. This could be the tailspin that Pittsburgh and its fans were fearing.

Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings could not buy a win a month prior to the all-star break. After starting off the season as one of the best teams in hockey, the Kings plummeted to the lower regions of the Western Conference standings. The Kings seem to have their biggest problems on the road where they are 12-13-1. But in their last 10 games, Los Angeles is 6-3-1 and is only one point out of a playoff berth. One of the keys to the Kings’ success is the re-emergence of goaltender Jonathan Quick.

In his last five games, Quick is 5-0 including one shutout. The Kings have always played great defense, but now they are finally putting the puck into the net to compliment that defense. The Kings are riding a two game winning streak and they will need to keep winning if they want to make the playoffs.

The Bottom Line

It is going to be an interesting time in Pittsburgh for the remainder of the season. It is the equivalent of the Penguins of the 1990’s losing Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr for the last 30 games of the season. That team could not win without their two biggest stars, and this team cannot win without its two biggest stars. If Marc-Andre Fleury can get his act back together, then the Penguins can probably hold on and make the playoffs. At that point, they can expect Crosby back. But for now, it will be a rough road for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pick: Los Angeles Kings


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