NHL Hockey Betting: Los Angeles Kings at Boston Bruins

NHL Hockey Betting:  Los Angeles Kings at Boston Bruins

Afternoon start game between the Western Conference entrant Los Angeles Kings and their Eastern Conference hosts, the Boston Bruins. Action at TD Garden begins at 1:00 PM Eastern and both teams are trying to get out of the middle of the pack in their respective divisions. The Bruins are 16-13-3 but are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games losing two straight. The Kings are 16-12-2 this season and have won 2 straight while going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Kings last played on Friday night taking a 1-0 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Bruins were last in action on Thursday as they dropped a 4-3 verdict to the Anaheim Ducks.

Not only is Boston struggling to find any consistency they’ve had a slew of injuries lately. David Pastrnak is expected to miss this game and Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders due to an elbow injury. Riley Nash is expected to miss this game for personal reasons. LW Matt Beleskey is already out six weeks with a knee injury and John-Michael Liles is out with a concussion. On the plus side, Bruins’ goaltender Tuuka Rask has been excellent this season with a 15-5-3 record along with a 1.90 goals against average and a 0.930 save percentage.

Given the situation, Peter Budaj is also playing extremely well. The Kings’ goalie tandem at the start of the season was supposed to be Jonathan Quick and former Pittsburgh Penguins’ backup Jeff Zatkoff. That was before Quick was injured and Zatkoff was ineffective in taking over his starting role. Budaj has come along and given the Kings some consistency in goal and that has allowed them to get back into the Western Conference hunt knowing that Quick should be back in February. Budaj is 14-7-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and a 0.93 save percentage.

The Kings look like the better team in better form. In non-conference matchups between teams of comparable ability we always look first to the Western Conference team. There are exceptions but this strategy has been very successful over the past few seasons. The Kings won both meetings last year taking a 9-2 embarrassment in Boston on 2/9/16 and following that up with a 2-1 win at home on 3/19/16.