NY Rangers (45-25-4) at Los Angeles (35-31-7)
When: Saturday, March 25th 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: MSG-Plus, FSN West
The Los Angeles Kings will attempt to make a late season run toward a playoff berth when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday night at Staples Center. The Kings, who have lost four of their past six games, are eight points behind the Nashville Predators for the final Western Conference Playoff spot. Captain Anze Kopitar picked up two points in his last game with a goal and an assist in Thursday’s 5-2 victory over Winnipeg, increasing his point total to 13 (five goals, eight assists) in his last 13 games. Former Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty and fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin continue to contribute offensively as each scored a goal on Thursday, giving Doughty seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last 10 while Muzzin has eight (two goals, six assists) in his last 12. Former Ranger forward Marian Gaborik joined Kopitar and Doughty by converting on the power play, marking the second time in the last eight games that Los Angeles’ 12th-ranked power play unit has scored three goals. Center Tyler Toffoli set up a pair of goals on Thursday to surpass the 30-point mark for the third time in his career, with six of those points (two goals, four assists) coming in the past seven games.
Henrik Lundqvist will watch fellow netminder Antti Raanta make his eighth straight start in Saturday’s game versus the Los Angeles Kings before the former Vezina Trophy winner returns to the crease the following night against the Anaheim Ducks. New York has dropped two in a row and five of seven (2-3-2) since the veteran Lundqvist sustained a hip injury while making 43 saves in a 5-2 victory over Florida on March 7th. The Rangers have a firm hold on the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and are just trying to get healthy for a deep run this Spring. Mats Zuccarello has had an incredible season and continued that with a power-play goal and a team-high six shots on goal in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Zuccarello (team-leading 37 assists), who scored in a 3-2 win over the Kings on January 23rd, pulled into a tie in points with fellow forward J.T. Miller (52) after scoring three goals and setting up as many in his last six games. Miller has been cold lately, recording just six points (two goals, four assists) in his last 18 games. The Rangers have scored at least one power-play goal in five of their last seven games, going 7-for-21 in that stretch.
Neither team has been playing all that well, but Los Angeles needs this win more. Their season is going to over if they don’t start a winning streak right now. Look for a solid game from Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick, who has won five of his last eight starts.
Pick: Kings -125
HEAD TO HEAD
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