It was a night to forget for the league-leading Florida Panthers, who got humiliated by the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Florida is hungry to wash this off with a thumping of the Los Angeles Kings as the NHL odds expect. But these visitors may not be as easy prey as they think…
Game: Los Angeles Kings (12-10-5) at Florida Panthers (18-6-4)
Location: FLA Live Arena
Day/Time: Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
Television: Bally Sports Florida
Los Angeles Kings at Florida Panthers
Kings: Same Old and Different
We pegged the Kings as one of the offseason’s free agency winners and 27 games into the season, they appear to be a better team even if their record is marginally just better. The Kings have improved on defense a lot this season mainly because of Jonathan Quick’s resurgence.
The all-time great is posting his best stats since the 2017-18 season, which is also the last time Los Angeles qualified for the playoffs. This isn’t a coincidence as the Kings have gone from 19th in goals against in 2020-21 to fourth this season. But elite netminding should be just the start for the Kings.
Los Angeles has been a solid team on 5v5 and if it can improve its special teams, it will be even more profitable to bet online. The Kings are 18-9 on the puckline and 7-14 as an underdog, but bettors are up over seven units when betting this team’s moneyline.
Panthers: Rough Knight
We’d look at the Panthers’ 8-2 loss against the Senators at home as an aberration if it weren’t for the Seattle Kraken also thumping them at home. On one hand, Florida outplayed Seattle and Ottawa like a heavy favorite would. But goaltender Spencer Knight has been getting lit up in net.
well…..after that misplay by Spencer Knight behind the net leading to the Senators 6th goal of the night………..we could say that this was the worst performance by the Panthers this season……could have said that in the first period actually
— Roy Bellamy (@roybelly) December 15, 2021
The rookie is supposed to be a Calder Trophy favorite but he has been anything but. Knight has an adjusted goals-against average (GAA) of 3.77 and -7.2 goals saved above expectations. He was in net both times Florida lost at home.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been significantly better than Knight, which would make Florida an easier team to trust on the online sports betting lines considering it’s usually a sizable favorite at home. But if the team can continue to dominate on 5v5, even shaky goaltending shouldn’t slow them down.
Betting Pick: Quick on the Upset
Betting against Florida at home seems like a fool’s errand. This is the best team on its own ice despite their losses against Seattle and Ottawa. Florida is 14-2 at home and 8-8 on the puckline. Additionally, the Panthers are 17-8 as a favorite.
Knight would be the team’s biggest weakness but we can’t overlook Florida’s failing power play (PP). The Panthers have blanked on their last ten attempts and are just 3-of-18 in their last five home games. This happens to be Los Angeles’s weakness as it allows the second-most PP goals when on the road.
But on 5v5, the Kings have the grit and talent to keep up with Florida. Another upset could be brewing here.
Pick: Los Angeles Kings +175
And if the Kings will pull it off, they will do it playing tough D with Quick being the difference-maker. Five of the Kings’ last six road games have gone under while eight of Florida’s last dozen against Western Conference teams have as well. The Kings edge the Panthers in a low-scoring affair.