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Panthers vs. Wild, 8:00 ET
Back and forth, up and down, that’s how it has been with these NHL picks this past week. I’ve give enough warning to people that I hope they understand these are researched, evaluated, analyzed, etc., but I am still new to handicapping the NHL. It is a work in progress so feel free to share your perspective in the comments or additional tips. Learning and the challenge is a lot of the fun to me.
The Florida Panthers have been a bit disappointing this season, but I do kind of feel like they may be turning a corner. After the All-Star Break, they have had three games and won two of them. The one loss was against Colorado but they played pretty well in that game too. Now they travel for the first time since the break. Being on the road can be challenging for some teams and the Panthers haven’t been great with an 11-15-3 record on the road. I assume that Sergei Bobrovsky is going to be the goalie tonight, but will wait until I get more confirmation. He’s started all three post All-Star games and he was great in the first two games. In the most recent one he allowed four goals – it wasn’t exactly pretty, but he did keep the Panthers in the game. The Panthers won the first game of this matchup, but they didn’t have Bobrovsky in the goal.
The Wild have been solid this season and have definitely played better at home. This season on their home ice, they have a 16-9-1 record. They have had four games since the All-Star break and lost three of those games. The only victory they’ve had came in their most recent game and that was a 3-2 shootout victory over the Devils just a couple of days ago. The Wild are putting Filip Gustavsson into the net for them. He’s been very good this year with a 12-8-1 record and a 2.25 goals against average. He’s actually third in the NHL with that average and has been doing a great job as the primary goalie for the Wild. He did face the Panthers in that aforementioned game and allowed four goals. He could be looking to get revenge from that loss tonight, but it is possible that the Panthers offense has figured something out with him. Perhaps a bigger deal is that the Wild’s offense seems to not be producing lately and that could cause trouble even for the best goalies.
I have to back the Panthers in this game. I think they can pull this out. I’m going to take Florida -105 in the game as I think they have been playing better lately. Their offense looks better and the goalies are probably about the same right now.
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