Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST.
10:35 PM EST.OT included. The Flames had such promise to start the year. Calgary picked up Mike Smith in the offseason to solidify its goaltending and Smith did exactly that. The Flames looked like a shoo-in to make the playoffs by the time Christmas rolled around and when the calendar turned to 2018 but then a six game losing streak in mid-January followed by a Mike Smith injury in early February and a season of hope turned to one of despair. Do you think it’s a coincidence that as soon as Calgary’s goaltending became shaky, the wheels started coming off? The Flames will now miss the playoffs again. On top of that, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are out, which is equivalent to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl being out for the Oil. Gaudreau and Monahan join T.J. Brodie, Matthew Tkachuk and Kris Versteeg on the rack so the Flames are not only sending out a depleted lineup that heavily relied on Gaudreau and Monahan to produce but, they are doing so in a bad start of mind. Losing is taxing, a long season that started out well and is now dead is taxing and losing your best players is taxing. Calgary doesn’t even have secondary scoring here. Michael Ferland is the only forward dressing who has scored more than 13 goals this season and he's in the midst of a horrific slump where he's found twine just once in 21 games. Among 35 eligible goaltenders (600+ minutes) Mike Smith ranks last with an .875 save percentage since January 31st. He has not been good. In fact, he's been horrible. During that same span, Jonathan Quick ranks 9th with an impressive .924 save percentage. He's a big reason the Kings are still in the thick of a playoff race. The Flames are dead.
The Kings will try to move back into a playoff spot with a win here after losing at Edmonton 3-2 on Saturday night to fall out of third place in the Pacific Division with six games left. Los Angeles entered Sunday with 89 points, same as the St. Louis Blues, who are currently sitting in the second wild-card spot. The Kings are two points behind the third-place Anaheim Ducks, who beat the Edmonton Oilers Sunday. The Blues next play Tuesday against the visiting San Jose Sharks, who beat the Flames 5-1 on Saturday for their seventh straight win. Seriously, losing is not an option for the Kings here and they figure to leave nothing on the table. This is a massive fade on the Flames.
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LOS ANGELES -1½ +129 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.58)