The Los Angeles Kings are one win away from an unlikely berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. They go for the sweep over the Phoenix Coyotes at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.
Let’s first update the next game to hit the ice with the New Jersey Devils hosting the New York Rangers at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. The odds have stayed pretty steady for this Game 3 with the Devils -130 and a total of 4½ (‘over’ -130).
One of the big storylines to the Rangers’ 3-2 home loss on Wednesday was the benching of forward Marian Gaborik for much of the third period. The Czech winger easily led the team in points (76) during the regular season and is tied for second in the postseason (10).
Coach John Tortorella doesn’t just save his wrath for the media. He stresses defense and Gaborik made a bad play along the boards that led to the game-tying goal on Wednesday. Defense has never been Gaborik’s strong suit, but he is one of the few snipers for a team averaging just 2.13 goals in the playoffs.
The Devils have the momentum with home ice and just tying up the series. They’re also fresher after eliminating the Flyers in five games last round, while New York had its second consecutive 7-game series against Washington.
Getting back to the Western Conference finals, it’s hard to understate what the Kings have accomplished so far. They were +1100 odds to win the Stanley Cup as a No. 8 seed before the playoffs. They’re now down to a remarkable -155.
Los Angeles put the Coyotes on the brink of elimination with a 2-1 victory on Thursday night. It wasn’t a dominating offensive performance like the first two when they put up a ‘4-spot’ each game. However, the Coyotes could only muster 19 shots and Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick is too good to be tested so infrequently.
Bettors looking to back the Kings for Game 4 will pay a heavy price of -230. That will have many looking towards the puck line where LA is +130 laying 1½ goals, and the Kings did win their previous six games before Thursday by two goals or more.
The total has just been released and it’s 4½ with the ‘over’ -120. The last two games have gone ‘under’ after an ‘over’ for Game 1.
The Coyotes have seen their offense go into the tank, scoring six total goals the last five games after 26 in the first nine. They’re being outscored in this series by Kings third-line rookie Dwight King (four tallies).
The desert dwellers could be playing their final game as residents of Phoenix despite a tentative deal that would keep the team put. Coyotes’ players likely won’t be thinking about that on the ice on Sunday, but how much fight they have left against this juggernaut Kings team is a major question.
It’s a good time to be a Los Angeles sports fans. The Dodgers are in first place in baseball’s NL West division and got rid of hated owner Frank McCourt in the process. The NBA’s Lakers and Clippers are still in the playoffs, although their chances of advancing are far more precarious than the Kings.
The good times should continue to roll on Sunday with the franchise’s first Finals berth since 1993 that featured the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.