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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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    Yesterday - 11:29 AM

NHL Odds, Free Pick Los Angeles Kings at Detroit Red Wings

It's a battle for bragging rights and a potential NHL Playoff spot tonight as the Los Angeles Kings travel to take on the Detroit Red Wings. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network. Currently the NHL Odds for the game have the Red Wings as a moderate favorite to win the game.

The LA Kings, winners of last season's Stanley Cup Finals, have already clinched a spot in this season's playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings are wanting to do the same thing. The 21-year streak of the Red Wings making the playoffs is in serious trouble as they currently sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference.

They're just one point away from tying Columbus for the eighth spot, and there's only a handful of games left in the regular season. A win tonight would be huge for the Red Wings, who beat Phoenix on Monday night. Columbus won their last game against San Jose on Sunday and doesn't play until tomorrow when they are at Dallas, who also is looking to clinch a playoff spot. And the Stars will certainly have the advantage in that one as the Blue Jackets are not exactly a great road team.

Johan Franzen scored twice against Coyotes in Monday's win for the Red Wings and is looking to put a few tallies on the board again tonight. Captain Henrik Zetterberg certainly doesn't want to be the first in 22 years to not lead Detroit into the post season. Zetterberg leads the Wings in scoring with 41 points on the season.

Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will be playing with some added pressure to get his team into the playoffs and has been playing well. The goalie, who just signed a lengthy extension, has sported a 1.77 goals-against average during a 6-5-3 stretch for the Wings. Yet it's not completely his fault, either. The Red Wings have been struggling offensively. Howard owns a 1.25 GAA over the last seven games, but the Wings are just 2-2-3 in those games because they are struggling to score goals.

LA captain Dustin Brown would like to get a road win for his team here, even if they are in the playoffs. Right now they're playing for seedings and they could move up a spot or two if they keep winning. They'd also likely keep the Red Wings outside of the post season hunt. Jeff Carter has two goals and two assists over the past two games.

Anze Kopitar has scored in each of the last three games against Detroit. Yet overall he hasn't scored in 14 straight games.

Detroit isn't as good at home this year as they were a season ago, in fact they're one of the worst teams at home in the West, winning just 11 games there this season in 22 games. Had they been a better team at home this season they wouldn't be in the chase for a playoff spot, they would have already cemented a spot.

Yet the Wings are in a position where they have to at least get a point out of this game. Look for them to get on the Kings early and pressure LA the entire game. Detroit needs to win this game and we're expecting them to get it done.

Free Pick: Red Wings

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