Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 3/2/13
A pick you can hang your hat on Headline: No Love Lost – Slumping Canucks Host Surging Kings The Vancouver Canucks have hit the skids – they are 2-3-2 over their last seven games, have lost two straight in Regulation time and they are 0-2-1 in their last three games on home ice. Yikes! The Canucks welcome the hated LA Kings to town on Saturday night who are currently on a five game win streak in which they have given up a total of just six goals. Double Yikes. Both teams will use this game as a quality measuring stick as to where they are a third of the way through the abbreviated season – both should be contenders when the playoffs roll around for sure! Los Angeles Kings (10-6-1-1) at Vancouver Canucks (10-5-0-4) When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 2, 2013 Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia Broadcast: CBC, NHLN-US, RDS2, FS-W Kings vs. Canucks Betting Lines from Bodog Los Angeles Kings +1½ -240 +125 Ov 5 -102 Vancouver Canucks -1½ +200 -138 Un 5 -108 Remember when the Kings were 3-5-2 to start the season, they were allowing an uncharacteristic amount of goals and they were predictably struggling to score? That appears to be a thing of the past – the Kings have won five straight, are getting terrific goaltending from Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier and the goals are starting to come. Jannik Hansen needs to show up for Vancouver, who is now missing Ryan Kesler. The Kings now give up the fifth fewest goals in the NHL and are seventh in goals against average this season. Defense and goaltending have been huge reasons for the recent success. Jonathan Bernier made 32 saves Wednesday and has won each of his last four starts while stopping 91 of 95 shots, and Jonathan Quick has won his last three while posting a 1.33 goals-against average. Quick is 7-2-0 in his last nine starts against Vancouver and her owns a stellar 1.53 GAA over that span. As mentioned, the scoring issues that always seem to plague the Kings has taken a bit of a hiatus –the Kings have outscored the opposition 17-6 during their five game win streak. Jeff Carter has scored in all five games and Anze Kopitar has two goals and six assists for eight points in the five games. Mike Richards has assists in each of the past four games. The hits keep coming for the Vancouver Canucks. First it was Kevin Bieksa that was shelved with a groin injury and now comes news that Ryan Kesler is gone for up to six weeks with a broken foot. Vancouver has been outscored 12-5 during their two game skid – both offense and defense are struggling. Has anyone seen Jannik Hansen or Mason Raymond? Seriously – where have they been? Now with Kesler gone for an extended period of time, these two have to re-emerge for the Canucks to have any chance on Saturday night. Vancouver’s offense is averaging just 2.74 goals per game this season and almost all of the damage recently has been thanks to the Sedins. The Canucks have worked hard to shed their “one-line team” reputation but you wouldn’t know it lately by the way they’ve performed. Corey Schneider is expected to start in goal Saturday after an unflattering effort against Phoenix. “It’s not as if I’m way off,” Schneider told reporters after practice Friday. “It’s one save a game and it’s very doable. I’m very confident I can make that extra save.” Roberto Luongo hasn’t been much better lately either – the goaltenders simply aren’t stealing any games like they were early in the season and the Canucks are paying the price in the standings. Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider: • Under is 5-1-4 in LA last 10 overall. • Under is 31-10-10 in LA last 51 vs. Northwest. • LA are 24-9 in their last 33 games following a win. • VAN are 16-5 in their last 21 Sat. games. Los Angles is 5-1 the last six meetings and 4-1 their last five trips to Vancouver. Everything is clicking for the Kings right now and it seems that absolutely nothing is going the way of the Canucks. Vancouver has been off since Tuesday – hopes are that the extra rest will have helped them out of their funk. But the Kings are back to the formula that saw them become virtually untouchable in last year’s playoffs. You can’t score on them and they score just enough. It all adds up to yet another LA win over Vancouver. LA makes it eight wins in the last 10 meetings versus the Canucks. Pick: LA Kings +125 CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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