After Tuesday’s loss in Dallas, the LA Kings are in Chicago on Thursday before heading home for four games.
LA Kings (6-6)
Kempe – Kopitar – Vilardi
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Kupari – Grundstrom
Lemieux – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Anderson – Doughty
Durzi – Roy
Edler – Clarke
So, the Kings decided to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen on Tuesday, which was pretty strange, to say the least. I thought perhaps a forward was unexpectedly unavailable, but Todd McLellan told the media after the game that the lineup was “what they wanted to go with” and that they “thought it would be a good idea.” Sure…
Looking ahead to Thursday, we do not yet know the status of Quinton Byfield, who missed the last game again with an illness. Brendan Lemieux was a healthy scratch last game, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get back in.
On the back end, the story is Brandt Clarke. He played his ninth game on Thursday, and the next game he plays will start his entry-level contract, meaning he’s here to stay. I think that happens Thursday in Chicago. There isn’t a reason not to; he’s been comfortably one of the best six defensemen on the team.
Cal Petersen was hung out to dry most of the night in Dallas and performed better than the final score dictated. That said, I fully expect Jonathan Quick to get the nod on Thursday.
Chicago Blackhawks (4-4-2)
Here is how the Blackhawks skated in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Islanders:
Blackhawks lineup in warmups
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) November 2, 2022
Alex Stalock started in goal but had to leave early after taking a big hit from Casey Cizikas. Stalock is in concussion protocol, so he will miss some time. To get another goalie on the roster, Chicago signed Dylan Wells to an NHL contract.
The Blackhawks are going to sign goalie Dylan Wells to an NHL contract, according to a source. He was on an AHL contract.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) November 2, 2022
Arvid Soderblom came on in relief of Stalock, stopping 28 of 30 shots, and should be in net against LA on Thursday. There are no indications of other changes from Tuesday’s game.
Here’s how the two teams match up at 5-on-5 per Natural Stat Trick
|Los Angeles Kings||12||28||28||51.6||51.6||50.8||50.9||9.5||.897||0.991|
The Kings are a much better team possession-wise than Chicago. It’s all coming down to the defensive zone for LA right now. You notice the number of goals they’re allowing at 5-on-5 despite having above-average possession and scoring chance metrics. They are not getting enough saves at 5-on-5 with the fifth-worst save percentage at 5-on-5.
LA went 1-for-3 with the man advantage on Tuesday, improving to 20.8% on the season, good for 19th place in the NHL. On the other hand, Chicago has one of the better power plays in the league. At 27.3%, the Blackhawks come in at 6th in the NHL. Unsurprisingly, Patrick Kane leads the way with seven of his ten points on the season coming on the power play.
Neither team has a good penalty kill. The Blackhawks are 25th in the NHL at 74.4%, and the Kings are 23rd at 75.5% after giving up three power play goals to the Stars on Tuesday.
One thing to keep an eye out for is the team that has scored the most shorthanded goals (Chicago, 4) is playing the team that has allowed the most shorthanded goals (Los Angeles, 3). There is no question teams can attack the LA power play and find success. Even though they’ve given up three, the Kings have allowed the most scoring chances (17) and most high-danger chances (7) while on the power play.
Let’s take a look at the odds, courtesy of our partner Betstamp (promo code: hockeyroyalty).
*Note: the odds below are for sports books offered in New York. Refer to available sports books specific to your state.
**Odds as of 8 am ET/5 am PT and may have changed since this has been published.
The LA Kings are fairly heavy favorites on the road at -165 at BetMGM. The hosts are +150 underdogs at three different books. I agree with LA being favored here, but given their inconsistent play and goaltending, I can’t lay that number on the road.
The total is at 6.5, with DraftKings offering the best number on the Over at +100, and WynnBet has the best number on the Under at -110.
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This is a game where I expect a lot of play in the Chicago zone. LA’s second line, centered by Phillip Danault, should particularly control their shifts which should allow Viktor Arvidsson plenty of opportunity to put pucks at the net. He is -115 to go Over 2.5 shots on goal.
Staying with that theme, Danault at -105 to record a point and +195 to tally an assist are attractive to me.
Former LA Kings winger Andreas Athanasiou has five points in ten games this season, he is +245 to score a goal and +105 to record a point.
Good luck, and enjoy the game!
Follow me on Betstamp @JWPatarino!
(Main photo credit: NHL.com)