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SB Nation Kings Blog: Jewels From the Crown
Know Your Opponent
Los Angeles Kings
Last Game: 6-5 OT loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Division Ranking: 3rd in the Pacific Division
PP: 11th (24.07%)
PK: 26th (71.57%)
What to Watch
1. Sabres Overdue for a Win Against the Kings
The Sabres played the Kings 129 times since 1970. During that span, Buffalo won 63 games, lost 48 and tied 18. In recent years, L.A. has dominated the Blue and Gold while Buffalo hasn’t beaten L.A. since Dec. 21, 2019, with a 3-2 home ice win.
Even so, the two teams haven’t faced each other that much. The Sabres and Kings only met twice since that 2019 Buffalo victory. L.A. comes off a 6-5 OT loss against Columbus and won just two of its last four contests. This matchup is ripe for the taking, if the Sabres are able and willing to pull it off.
2. L.A. Weak on Both PP and PK
The Kings aren’t the best with the man advantage, ranking an NHL 11th and scoring on just 24% of their power play chances. The Sabres, amazingly sit at a current 4th place in PP scoring. L.A. is even weaker on penalty kills, a league ranked 26th, only stopping opponents from scoring 72% of the time.
Buffalo is historically weak in both statistics, too. However, with the team improving on power plays, if the Sabres do get the man advantage, it’s an opponent soft spot they can exploit.
3. Buffalo the Best Bet to Win
The Buffalo Sabres are -110 moneyline favorites, according to Mike Fink of Winners and Whiners.com. While both teams have defenses they hope will improve, the Kings’ D has been terrible, allowing 3.61 goals per game and giving up 13 of them in their last three meetings.
Fink believes Buffalo’s offense can take advantage of L.A.’s defensive weaknesses and pile on the pucks. Expect Thompson, Tuch and other forwards to get goals past Kings’ netminder Jonathan Quick, who has an .882 SV% and 3.55 GAA. The Sabres should also limit the Kings’ offensive attack with Dahlin, Power and other d-men creating turnovers and limiting shots on Buffalo’s net.
Casey Mittelstadt – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn
Rasmus Asplund – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Jacob Bryson
Kale Clague – Casey Fitzgerald
Goaltenders: Craig Anderson (likely), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
Kevin Fiala – Anze Kopitar – Arthur Kaliyev
Trevor Moore – Philip Danault – Gabriel Vilarde
Alex Iafallo – Rasmus Kupari - Adrian Kempe
Carl Grundstrom - Blake Lizotte - Jaret Anderson-Dolan
Mikey Anderson – Sean Durzi
Alexander Edler – Matt Roy
Tobias Bjornfot – Sean Walker
Goaltenders: Jonathan Quick (likely), Pheonix Copley