Stanley Cup Final Game Four Betting Picks: Los Angeles Kings at New York Rangers

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Stanley Cup Final – Game #4

Los Angeles Kings at New York Rangers
Kings Lead Best of Seven Series 3-0
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: New York -130 / Los Angeles +110
Current Line: New York -140 / Los Angeles +120
Opening Total: over 5 -120 / under 5 +100
Current Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110

The LA Kings look to sweep the New York Rangers and win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
The LA Kings look to sweep the New York Rangers and win their second Stanley Cup in three years.

The Los Angeles Kings had to win three game sevens on the road to get to the Stanley Cup Final and are 7-0 in elimination games in the playoffs. After two overtime victories at home against the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final where the Kings were down by 2 goals in each game, the series switched to New York for game three Monday night. The Kings won easily 3-0 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Rangers.

LA will win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons with a win Wednesday night in New York. The Rangers look to avoid the sweep, and force game five in Los Angeles Friday night. Only four times in NHL history has a team come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win the series. Ironically, New York can look to their opponents for inspiration as these same Kings were down three games to zer0 against the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2014 playoffs two months ago.

New York had a 2-0 lead in game one but lost 3-2 in overtime. They had leads of 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 in game two before losing 5-4 in double overtime. The Rangers thought that since they had dominated the two games in LA for long stretches that they could get back in the series in front of their rabid fans starving for a Stanley Cup that New York had not won since 1994. The Kings had other ideas though as goalie Jonathan Quick picked a really good time to have his best game of the playoffs. Quick made 32 saves and recorded his second shutout of the playoffs.

Jeff Carter opened the scoring for the Kings with a second left in the first period on a goal assisted by Justin Williams and Slava Voynov. Officials reviewed the goal to make sure it went in the net before time expired and the goal was confirmed. Jake Muzzin scored a power play goal for LA 4 minutes into the second assisted by Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. Mike Richards added another goal with just under 3 minutes to go in the second assisted by Kyle Clifford. neither team scored in the third period.

Despite having only 15 shots on goal, the Kings scored 3 goals. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist who had been stellar during the playoffs and is the main reason the Rangers have even gotten this far struggled Monday night. The Kings won 25 face-offs to 23 for the Rangers. LA was 1 for 4 on the power play. New York was 0 for 6 on the power play. In fact, the Rangers’ power play is 1 for 17 in this series. That really isn’t a surprise as the Rangers power play has been anemic all post-season, except for the first two games against Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals where New York scored 4 of their 12 power play goals in the playoffs.

New York is coached by Alain Vigneault. The Rangers are 57-42-3-3 this season and the total was 30-41-11 during the regular season. Los Angeles is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Kings are 61-37-2-6 this season and the total was 22-41-19 during the regular season.

Los Angeles is outscoring teams 3.50-2.75 in the playoffs. The Kings are averaging 31.1 shots per game and opponents average 30.5 per game. The Kings are  19 for 79 on the power play (24%) in the playoffs. They have allowed two shorthanded goals. LA is 83% on the penalty kill and has allowed 16 power play goals. The Kings have won 52.6% of face-offs in the postseason.

Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick has a goals against average of 2.69 in the playoffs with a save percentage of .910. He has allowed 65 goals in 725 shots faced with two shutouts. Quick is 15-9 in the playoffs so far.  Martin Jones is the back-up if something happens to Quick.

LA Center Anze Kopitar leads all scorers in the playoffs with 26 points including 21 assists. Center Jeff Carter has 9 goals and 15 assists for 24 points. Right wing Justin Williams (8 goals, 16 assists) has 24 points.   Right wing Marian Gaborik has 21 points and leads the playoffs in goals with 13.   Defenseman Drew Doughty has 17 points with 12 assists. Center Tyler Toffoli has 13 points with 7 goals. Right wing Dustin Brown has 13 points with 8 assists. Left Wing Tanner Pearson has 12 points with 8 assists. Defenseman Jake Muzzin has 12 points with 6 goals. Defenseman Robyn Regehr is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

In the playoffs, New York is outscoring teams 2.61-2.44. The Rangers are outshooting teams 29.7-28.8 in the playoffs. New York is 12 for 95 on the power play during the playoffs (12.6%). New York has allowed three short handed goals and scored two. The Rangers are at 85.5% on the penalty kill and have allowed 11 power play goals. New York is 47.7% on face-offs.

New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist has a 2.20 goals against average in the playoffs with a save percentage of .922. He has allowed 50 goals and faced 645 shots. Lundqvist has an 12-10 record in the playoffs with one shutout. Back-up goalie Cam Talbot has a 2.59 GAA with a save percentage of .846. He has allowed 2 goals in 13 shots faced in two games in the playoffs. He returns to the Rangers after missing the first three games for undisclosed reasons.

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh has 16 points with 12 assists. Right wing Martin St. Louis has 14 points with 7 goals and 7 assists.  Center Derek Stepan has 14 points with 9 assists. He suffered a broken jaw in the Montreal series but only missed one game. Right wing Mats Zuccarello has 13 points with 8 assists. Center Brad Richards has 5 goals and 6 assists.  Left wing Carl Hagelin has 11 points with 7 goals. LW Rick Nash has 10 points with 7 assists. Left wing Chris Kreider has 11 points with 7 assists. Center Derick Brassard has 11 points with 6 goals in the playoffs.  Left wing Benoit Pouilot has 9 points with 5 assists.  LW Daniel Carcillo is eligible to return to the Rangers after a suspension for elbowing a linesman in the last series.

Los Angeles is 9-0 against Metropolitan Division teams, 4-0 overall, against teams with winning records, and in Stanley Cup Finals games,  24-8 in Wednesday games, 8-3 in road games, 20-8 against Eastern Conference teams, 16-7 after the opponent scores 2 goals or less in the previous game, and 35-16 after a win. The Kings are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings against the Rangers and 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.

New York is 11-4 in Wednesday games, 20-8 after the opponent allows 2 goals or less in the previous game, 5-2 on one day rest, 19-9 after scoring 2 goals or less, 1-4 against teams with winning records and overall, and 0-4 against Western Conference teams. The under is 3-1-2 in this series recently.

It is clear Los Angeles is the better team. Really the only left to decide is who wins the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP. Kopitar, Williams, Carter, and Gaborik are all putting up numbers that would normally be a lock for the award. Still, I think the Rangers have too much pride to get swept. I like New York to force game five in Los Angeles.

Our hockey handicappers are red hot in the playoffs. Don’t miss out on anymore winners.

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