The NHL is set up with another great slate of games throughout March 15. Ten games will be up on the board throughout Monday. One of these games will be between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers. These two teams have had strong starts to this season and will look to keep it going with a win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Chicago has started out this season with a record of 14-10-5, which has them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. The Blackhawks are coming off a loss in their last game and have lost four of their last six. Chicago will look to get back on track in this one as they try to hold on to their playoff spot. I expect the Blackhawks to come out quick in this one.
The Panthers have put up a record of 18-5-4 to this point in the season, which has them in second place of the Central Division. Florida has won three games in a row and five of their last six. The Panthers will look to keep up their recent string of success as they meet up with the Blackhawks. Florida is tied for the top of the division and will look to take over that spot with a win.
These two teams are sitting in playoff spots in the Central Division as of right now. Florida’s strong start to the season has them sitting at the top, while the Blackhawks are trying to hold off the Columbus Blue Jackets. Chicago will look to keep a firm hold of the fourth seed with a win in this one. I expect the Blackhawks to come out quickly as they hunt for an important win.
The Blackhawks and the Panthers have met up three times to this point in the season. Florida hosted the first game of the season series on January 17. Duncan Keith had two assists, but it was not enough for Chicago. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and two assists. Patric Hornqvist and Eetu Luostarinen each had a goal and an assist. Chris Driedger stopped 28 of 30 shots as the Panthers won 5-2 at home.
The second game of the season series stayed in Florida on January 19. Dominik Kubalik had two goals and an assist, while Duncan Keith and Lucas Wallmark each had two assists. Carter Verhaeghe and Patric Hornqvist each scored twice as well on the night. Frank Vatrano scored the game winner in overtime to help lift the Panthers to a 5-4 victory.
Florida also hosted the third game of the season series on March 13. Adam Boqvist and Brandon Hagel each scored for the Blackhawks, but once again Chicago came up short. Aleksander Barkov had two goals and an assist on the night. Carter Verhaeghe added a goal and an assist, while Anthony Duclair and MacKenzie Weegar each had two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 32 shots as the Panthers won 4-2.
The Panthers have won all three games of the season series so far and will look to win all four at home against Chicago in this one. Florida has been able to score at will against the Blackhawks, which has been a problem. I expect Chicago to try and switch things up on defense entering this one. If the Blackhawks can shut down the Panthers early, it could give them a chance to earn the win.
Chicago’s power play has been off to a strong start throughout this season. The Blackhawks have capitalized on 26 of their 88 power play opportunities, which is a 29.6 percent success rate. Chicago’s penalty kill has not been doing nearly as well though. The Blackhawks have killed off 67 of the 90 penalties against them, which is a 74.4 percent penalty kill.
The Panthers have been strong on the power play as well this season. Florida has scored on 21 of their 82 power play attempts, which is a 25.6 percent power play. The Panthers have not been great on the penalty kill, but they have been a bit better. Florida has given up 17 goals on their opponents 80 power play chances, which is a 78.8 percent kill rate.
These two teams have been strong on the power play throughout this season series so far. The Blackhawks have struggled a bit more on the penalty kill and will need to tighten that up against Florida. If the Panthers can shut down Chicago’s power play, it would give them a big edge in this one. I expect both teams to try and get the special teams going early.
Kevin Lankinen will likely get the start between the pipes for the Blackhawks in this one. Lankinen has started in 19 games this season, going 10-5-4. He has posted a save percentage of .917 and a 2.79 GAA in his starts. Lankinen’s last start was against the Panthers on Friday night, where he stopped 31 of 35 shots in the loss.
I expect Sergei Bobrovsky to get the nod in the crease for Florida on Monday night. Bobrovsky has earned a record of 11-2-2 through his 15 starts this season. He has put up a .905 save percentage and a GAA of 2.95. Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 32 shots in his last start against Chicago, which was enough to lead his team to the win.
Lankinen has had the better numbers throughout this season so far, but Bobrovsky has been heating up as of late. Bobrovsky has won his last five starts, while Lankinen has lost three of his last four. The Blackhawks will look for Lankinen to step up in the crease in this one to try and get them back in the win column. They will look to test Bobrovsky early to try and break through on Monday night.
I expect Chicago to come out much quicker in this one as they try to knock off the Panthers. Florida has had their way with the Blackhawks this season, but I think Chicago can break through in this one. The Blackhawks are a strong team this season and I think they will find a way to rebound in this one. I like Chicago to pull off the upset on the road on Monday night.
BetOnline has Florida listed as a -170 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Panthers will win this game around 63 percent of the time. I think that this line is a little big for two teams in the playoff picture. I think that the Blackhawks have chance to finally break through on Florida in this one. As big underdogs, I like the value on the Blackhawks on Monday night.