Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:45 AM EST
10:05 PM EST. OT included. The Los Angeles Kings made some major changes this offseason but it didn’t come on the ice. L.A. fired both general manager Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter and replaced them with Rob Blake and John Stevens. Stevens has an established coaching track record at a variety of levels including the NHL when he served as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-09. With the Flyers his club had a 120-109-34 record while leading the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Final in 2008. However, he also had seven 20-goal scorers back then and he might not have half that with the Kings. On the ice, L.A. had an awfully quiet off-season. With very little free cap space, they were unable to make any big-name signings. They brought back former Los Angeles Kings’ forward, Mike Cammalleri on a one-year, $1 million deal. Cammalleri is coming off two mediocre seasons with the New Jersey Devils and finished last season with only 10 goals, and 31 points in 61 games. While every team is getting quicker and younger, the Kings are getting older and slower. Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jeff Carter will carry this team to whatever success they may have. Meanwhile, one of the NHL’s most overrated goaltenders is healthy and ready to go. This market loves Jonathan Quick because the media keeps insisting he’s great but we’re here to tell you he’s not.
Quick will play in his 10th NHL season this year. How great is he? He had one great year back in 2011-12 when the Kings won the Cup and he posted a .928 save percentage. Other than that, he’s been at .918 or under every other year, which is in Steve Mason territory over Mason’s last five years. It’s also worth noting that Quick was playing behind a very good L.A. defense for years so his numbers are even more skewed. This is a below average netminder playing on a team that can’t score goals. Quick is slower too, as he’s battled several injuries over the past three years.
The Flyers played last night in San Jose and won 5-3. They had a 2-0 lead, a 3-2 lead, a 4-3 lead and finally ended it with an empty-netter late in the third period. Philadelphia never trailed the entire game and had all four lines making an impact. The Flyers look to be a well-balanced squad this year with scoring throughout the lineup. Teams can no longer focus on Giroux’s line. The #2 pick in the June draft, Nolan Patrick did not look a bit out of a place. The Flyers had 29 scoring chances to the Sharks’ 20. A win on opening night in San Jose is a great confidence booster. The Flyers have to be feeling great heading into Los Angeles with a 1-0 record as opposed to being 0-1. The Flyers have a very good game under their belt, they’re energized and they’re the superior team here taking back a tag while the Kings are not difficult to beat anymore.
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Philadelphia +145 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.90)