The Los Angeles Kings are still atop the Western Conference. The Kings take on middle of the pack Metropolitan team Pittsburgh on Friday, Dec. 11.Then, on Saturday, Washington travels to Tampa Bay to take on a Lightning team that is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning so far hasn’t shown the same ability to string together a bunch of wins in a row like they did last season. In the third best bet game of the week, New Jersey takes on the New York Islanders in what should be a fun rivalry battle.
Analyzing My NHL Best Bets Dec 7-13
Los Angeles at Pittsburgh
When: Friday, Dec. 11
Pittsburgh is the second of a 4 straight road game trip for the Kings this week. The Kings first road game takes place against Columbus on Dec. 8. The Kings get plenty of rest before battling Pittsburgh on Dec. 11.
That should help the Kings establish superiority versus a Penguins squad that got a lot of love to win the Stanley Cup before the season started, but hasn’t been all that great so far during the regular season. Pittsburgh ranks 28th in shots allowed per game at 31.9. The Kings should tee it up quite a bit against Pittsburgh. The Kings beat Pittsburgh 5 to 3 on a game on Dec. 5. The score should be similar in this matchup.
Pick: L.A. Kings
Washington at Tampa Bay
When: Saturday, Dec. 12
Tampa Bay’s inability to score goals has really hurt them this season. The Lightning averages 2.4 goals per game. That ranks 24th.
The last time Washington played Tampa Bay, they beat the Lightning 4 to 2 on Nov. 27. In that game, Alexander Ovechkin gained a point. If Tampa Bay decides to put most of their energies towards stopping Ovechkin, the other players on Washington’s team and their other lines are likely to scorch the Lightning. If they don’t concentrate on Ovechkin, he’s good enough to take them apart. Washington is in the lead in the Metropolitan Division. They’re there for a reason. Back the Capitals.
New Jersey at New York Islanders
When: Sunday, Dec. 13
New Jersey’s defense is very good. The Devils are ranked in the Top 10 in 4 defensive categories: 9th in goals against at 2.4 per, 5th in shots against at 27.9 per, 8th in penalty kill percentage at 83.3% and 8th in penalty minutes at 278 to start the week.
The last time that New Jersey played the Islanders they lost by a 1 to 2 score. That game was on Nov. 3. The Islanders have been hot since Nov. 28 when winning 4 out of their last 5 to start the week. Their loan loss was a 2 to 3 OT thriller to Ottawa. As good as New Jersey’s defense is, the Islanders’ defense is on par. Go with the home team in this battle.
Pick: New York Islanders