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NHL Free Pick 1/18/2018

Kings Look to Break Four Game Skid Vs a Weary Pittsburgh Team

In any other scenario, the LA Kings hosting Pittsburgh as the Penguins play their second game in as many nights would be a wager to absolutely hammer. Los Angeles hasn’t exactly warmed the hearts of bettors lately though, losing four straight and allowing 4 goals in each of the defeats. Is a tired Pittsburgh team enough to get the Kings back on track in the 1/18 NHL free pick?

Penguins Turn to Jarry In Net Yet Again

Malkin could be a handful for LA tonight as he’s scored

Pittsburgh took the ice last night as +103 in Anaheim but ended up dropping a 3-5 contest to the Ducks. Anaheim scored four in the 2nd period and added an empty netter in the final second but the Penguins fought hard all night. G Tristan Jarry gave up four goals on 32 shots. Jarry is in net again in the 1/18 NHL free pick – his second time going back-to-back this week. Jarry saved 28 of 30 shots in that 5-2 win against the Rangers on Sunday although Pittsburgh was -175 favorites.

The loss to Anaheim snapped a four game winning streak for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have struggled on the road this season though, going just 9-13-1 this season. The Penguins are just 6-13 their last 19 road games and have been especially bad against the Western Conference going 1-8 over their last nine. Ironically, Pittsburgh has actually won their last four games on 0 days rest but three of those games were at home.

What’s Wrong With the Kings?

1/18 NHL free pick
Will the LA goalie return to form soon or is he battling an undisclosed injury?

LA is still sitting OK in the grand scheme of things at 8th in the Western Conference, but it’s readily apparent the team just isn’t right lately. Following a January 2nd 5-0 win in Edmonton, the Kings have dropped four straight games allowing 16 total goals in the process. This is an LA team that is 1st in the NHL in goals allowed, is top 10 in shots permitted, and has the #1 penalty killing unit in the league. G Jonathan Quick has looked mortal lately, dropping three of those games; stopping just 20 of 24 shots against Nashville and 21 of 24 against the Ducks. The potential for a big night in the 1/18 NHL free pick is always there for Quick though as his .924 save percentage is 8th in the league.

While the Kings defense has struggled lately, so has their offense – scoring just six goals over the current 1-2 home stand. C Anze Kopitar is 16th in the NHL in points and he’s showing signs of turning things around. Kopitar has 5 points in the last 5 games compared to just one in the 5 prior. The Pittsburgh defense is 23rd in goals allowed, but they’re also stingy allowing the 5th fewest shots. Tired legs from playing in Anaheim last night should benefit the Kings offense on Thursday night.

1/18 NHL Free Pick Betting

The Kings are up to -140 on the odds with 57% of the public backing them to break their losing streak. It’s a tough matchup for Pittsburgh’s G Jarry having to go in net on back-to-back nights on the road. Plus, the Penguins have dropped four straight against LA. It’s hard backing a Kings team that has looked so bad lately, but they’ve got to get a home win sometime….right?

Pick: Los Angeles Kings -140

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Carl Taylor

Every loss is a chance to learn a lesson. That being said, wins are so much more enjoyable. Follow along to tap into the wisdom I've learned from 20 years as a sports bettor.

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