The Los Angeles Kings will look to wrap up lengthy East Coast road trip on a positive note Monday. After what has been an incredibly long and depressing season for Kings fans, if they can manage a victory at Washington, that would mean a 4-1-1 trip and they would be four to six points from being tied for the last wild card slot.
Mood will be a big factor for Los Angeles and is something all of us following the NHL odds will have to ponder. The Kings were sent out as +195 road underdogs against the Capitals and after this matchup, they don’t play again until Valentine’s Day this week. That home game will be their first since Jan. 21st and just their second since Jan. 12th. Can interim head coach Willie Desjardins keep his team focused on the task at hand or does his team start “California Dreamin”?
For Washington of late, it’s been one step forward and one step back. After losing seven in a row to lose drop out of the Metropolitan Division lead, the Caps won three of four and came back to tie Florida from two goals down in the third period Saturday, only to lose in OT to the Panthers.
The defending Stanley Cup champs 21st rated defense and 23rd ranked penalty killers continues to plague them. Nobody is saying first-year head coach Todd Reirden is not doing a good job, but those who watch Washington closely do not see the defensive details from previous years when Barry Trotz was in charge.