Los Angeles Kings @ Tampa Bay Lightning Free NHL Pick 2/7/12
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The Kings are already off to a bad start on this roadie, as they have lost back to back games to the St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes. In their last five losses, they have scored a grand total of just four goals, and this is the same type of problem that has been plaguing this team all season long. Los Angeles ranks dead last in hockey at just 2.1 goals per game, and it is really spoiling the fantastic season that Jonathan Quick is having in net. He would probably be the Vezina Trophy frontrunner right now with a better offense, as his defense ranks No. 3 in the league at just 2.1 goals per game allowed, and he has a tremendous .937 save percentage to go with a whopping 1.87 GAA. Simon Gagne continues to be out of the fold with a concussion, which really puts the pressure on Anze Kopitar to continue to carry this team offensively. When he isn’t on his game though, it is hard for anyone else to step up and be the leader of this offense.
The Bolts are still on the outside of the playoff race, but they are playing their best hockey of the season right now. Tampa Bay has taken at least one point from seven straight games, and though there are still nine points to make up to get into the playoffs once again with a slew of teams to hop, there is at least some hope in the Sunshine State. The goaltending is once again awful, as both Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson have miserable numbers, but at least the team can win fast-paced, high scoring contests. Steven Stamkos has 57 points this season to lead the team, and Martin St. Louis is hot at the moment coming off of a hat trick against the Florida Panthers over the weekend. The team is still only averaging 2.8 goals per game this year, and though that is good enough to rank No. 8 in the league, it is a far cry to the 3.3 goals per game that the team is giving up, which is easily dead last in the league.
Los Angeles Kings @ Tampa Bay Lightning Pick: The Kings have won back to back games in this series, but we just don’t like their chances on Tuesday night. Tampa Bay is playing the better hockey right now, and it just has more ways to win this game. Expect whichever goalie is in net to at least have a respectable performance for the Lightning, and that should be enough to carry the team to victory.
Free Hockey Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning
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