Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
8:35 PM EST. OT included. The Kings traded for Dion Phaneuf last week and instantly became another one of four teams that are going to learn it is impossible to improve, let alone win games with that useless stiff playing 20-22 minutes a game. We have not had the chance to properly laugh at the Kings for trading for him, as we’re still in disbelief that this actually happened. It just doesn't feel real. All the Leafs then the Sens had to do was take on some questionable short-term salary cap, and presto! The team that won't even give its own players good money took on the obligation of paying Dion Phaneuf until he's 35 years old. It took exactly one game for Phaneuf to start making the Kings look even worse than they are and now L.A. is getting too much respect in Chicago because the Blackhawks have one win in their past eight games.
L.A. has one win since Phaneuf came over, a 4-2 victory over Buffalo in which the Kings scored three goals in a four-minute span late in the second period to blow it open. Prior, L.A. lost three straight games while getting outscored over that span by a combined 14-7. They also lost the 5v5 Corsi For % battle in four straight prior to the game against the Sabres. The Kings will play their sixth straight on the road here and will wrap up their seven-game trip tomorrow in Winnipeg. That’s back-to-back difficult games at the end of a long trip. If the Kings beat us here, we’ll fade them again tomorrow, as it’s unlikely they’ll be able to hang for 60 minutes with both squads.
Chicago got a big load off their shoulders with a resounding victory over the Caps on Saturday night. That was weeks of frustration but that game did a lot more for Chicago than just give them two points. Losing takes its toll, thus, that lone win had to be good for the clubs’ overall psyche. The seven goals scored also means players will not be gripping their sticks as tight anymore. The players were having fun again and it served to loosen the team up again. What often follows a win after a prolonged losing streak is another win, especially when it involves such a good team. We’ve documented how well Chicago has been playing without the results for weeks and nothing has changed. They are head and shoulders the superior squad here and that lone win at least gives them hope of making the playoffs. The Blackhawks must go on a big run to get there but that’s not a big stretch, as this squad is powerful enough to string together some great runs over the final 33 games to get in. We like that Chicago snapped out of a undeserving losing streak and we like that the market still doesn’t realize how good the Blackhawks truly are.
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CHICAGO -½ +140 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.80)