The Vancouver Canucks were in a big funk but appear to be rallying around a lost soldier. Daniel Sedin was victim of an illegal hit by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who was subsequently suspended five games. 

Sedin was knocked out with a concussion and the Canucks have seemed to wake out of their late season slumber because of it.

They’ve now won two straight and have pulled to within two points of first place in the Western Conference standings.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings are still fighting for their playoff lives and as odd as it might sound, they are just one point away from missing the postseason altogether yet also one point out of third place.

There’s plenty on the line when these two west coast foes will meet up on Monday night at Rogers Arena:

Monday, March 26th

NHL Odds: Canucks -145

The Los Angeles Kings can win because…

Vancouver has been slumping lately. While the Kings have won six of seven, Vancouver has actually dropped eight of their last 13 games. They’re on a two-game winning streak but the Canucks haven’t won more than two straight in since mid-February.

Dustin BrownThe Kings are clicking offensively right now and that’s really the key to their success. They’ve scored 41 goals in their last 12 games, which boils down to a 3.42 average. With their defense and goaltending, they’re going to win plenty of games when their offense is producing at this level.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick has done a good job of limiting Vancouver in his career, posting a 2.05 GAA against them with a .927 save percentage. If the Kings can get three goals, they’ll have a more than reasonable chance of winning.

The Vancouver Canucks can win because…

The Kings are still child’s play. They had won six straight and were favored to win a seventh at home against a slumping Boston Bruins team on Saturday but yet again, the Kings flopped in a 4-2 loss. Los Angeles has been close, but no cigar all season long and time is running out for them.

Some people might point to the six-game winning streak and wonder if we should be impressed. At a closer look, they beat the Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks – all of whom have been slumping recently.

While Darryl Sutter has made the Kings a much better home team (13-5-3 at STAPLES Center with him behind the bench), they aren’t much better on the road (16-20).

Look for the Vancouver Canucks to be prepared for this game. This is a potential first-round playoff series and they’re not going to want to give the Kings any semblance of hope. They’ve now won two straight and are just two points shy of reclaiming the top spot in the Western Conference.

Outlook & NHL betting prediction:

Who really wants to lay juice with a Canucks team that’s lost eight of 13? Who really wants to trust a Kings team that continually disappoints when faced with big opportunities?

We’ll actually take a flier with the Kings, who have won two of the three meetings this season and appear to be playing better of late (at least better between these two teams).

Under also is likely a good play as each of the three meetings this season have landed on exactly five goals. There doesn’t figure to be much more scoring in Monday’s affair.

NHL Picks: Kings

Also be sure to check out the rest of my hockey picks for today.