The Devils stay in Florida after a clash with the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. Tampa got to the Devils early and often, as they put up 4 goals in the 1st period to take a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes. The Lightning have a quick strike offence that can bury a team pretty quick, point in case last night. All of this is a moot point if the Bolts can’t generate a strong push in the playoffs. A strong push as in go to the Stanley Cup Final and win, because they are a team expected to do that much with the talent on their roster.
On paper they should have it easier tonight against the Panthers. The Panthers enter Monday with a record of 8-9-2, as they’ve fluctuated as an average team. This was a pretty decent team under Gerard Gallant. They went to the playoffs, and while they weren’t successful and accomplishing anything more than that, the expectations were set for future years.
Bob Boughner hasn’t been able to achieve that or match it. His team was in disarray without Roberto Luongo in net and when he came back they instantly found the ON switch. However, here we are again, and the Panthers are dealing with an injury to Luongo. His knee is acting up again, so he’ll be out with a lower-body injury.
Boughner was finally getting some sleep at night with his starting goaltender in the crease. Luongo is responsible for stealing a few wins for Florida, but now the pipes belong to James Reimer. He is listed as day-to-day. Although, keep in mind his age and this is the second time he’s been on the injury report with the same injury. It’s going to be impossible for the Panthers to give him a full workload, and expect him to be healthy and ready for a playoff push in the spring. Reimer is expected to get the start tonight, while Keith Kinkaid will get the nod after Cory Schneider got lit up by the Lightning on Sunday. Head below for our free Devils vs. Panthers pick.
N.J. Devils vs. Florida Panthers Pick
Schneider went into last night with a 4.07 GAA and 0.865 save percentage and it only got worse from there. There might come a time where if Kinkaid is playing serviceably enough that they stick with him in net. Kinkaid hasn’t been too special either after a hot start, but Schneider is getting lit up like a Christmas tree. Kinkaid is coming off a poor start against the Islanders in a 4-3 loss.
He holds a respectable 2.65 GAA and 0.914 save percentage, which is a lot more than Schneider can proclaim. In their last ten games overall, the Devils have allowed over 3.2 goals per game. I don’t think the Devils are going to see elite goaltending too often this season, so it’s going to be up Taylor Hall and the forwards to produce goals.
With Luongo out, the Panthers know what they are going to have to turn their offence up as well, which has been the case for them this season. Florida have averaged 3.24 goals per game and have notched 3.5 per game in their previous ten games. Reimer must help out, though, and he hasn’t been up to par with Luongo at all. He won’t be getting much help from his defenders either.
He sports a 3.43 GAA and 0.894 save percentage heading into Monday night. Luongo does a much better job of concealing some clear defensive issues on the Panthers’ blueline. Even with him in net, the Panthers are still 30th in the NHL with 3.62 goals allowed per game. In their previous ten, they’ve given up 3.7 per game and a whopping 5.6 goals per game in the last six. In all likelihood this matchup should have 7 or 8 goals on Monday night. Note that these odds were pulled from 888sport.