The pivotal game of the second round of the playoffs for both the Los Angeles Kings and the St. Louis Blues is here, and here at Bang the Book, we are making our NHL playoff picks for Game 3 of this critical series.
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Have the Blues just totally lost their cool? Head Coach Ken Hitchcock is going to be glad that there are a few days to prepare for the continuation of this series in Tinseltown after getting absolutely whacked by the Kings in both of the first two games. Frustration boiled over in the form of a ton of penalties and skirmishes, most of which were started by the boys wearing home jerseys at Scottrade Arena in the 5-2 Game 2 loss. The team ended up allowing six power plays, many of which came on relatively foolish penalties, and for a team that generally found ways to keep itself out of the penalty box this year, the 57 minutes spent in the sin bin was a real shock. The hope has to be here that Jaroslav Halak is going to be healthy for Game 3, as he has been out for the last few weeks and has been replaced by Brian Elliott. But Elliott really hasn’t been at his best in net in that span, and it was clear that his worst game was his most recent one, as he allowed five goals really without all that much reply.
The Kings clearly weren’t your average No. 8 seed this year in the playoffs. Jonathan Quick continues to be one of the best goalies in the game, holding down the Blues to just three goals in the two games played at Scottrade Arena. Los Angeles is now a perfect 5-0 on the road to start the postseason, and it has done so with a well-balanced attack on both sides of the ice. This was supposed to be a team that really lacked an offense. However, if the first period of Monday night’s tussle was any indication, there is clearly no lack of scoring power out there. Anze Kopitar scored twice, including once on the penalty kill as a part of a four-goal outburst in the first period to really put the Blues down and out early on. Every time that St. Louis came down the ice and found a way to get some momentum, there was something that happened that put the Kings in control once again. Now, they are just two wins away from the Western Conference Final, and the argument could be made that they are the hottest team in the game and the deserving favorites to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of the season.
St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings Pick: The Kings really are playing well right now, and they are going to be deserving favorites in Game 3 of this series. The Blues just looked shell shocked right now, and we just don’t know if even a solid 48 hours away from these Kings is going to make that much of a difference.
Free Hockey Pick: Los Angeles Kings
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.