The Florida Panthers have had as good of a season as they have had in quite awhile, but by the looks of it they aren’t going to be able to make it to the playoffs. There is still time to go, and they can still make it, but they are going to have to play extremely well and get a little lucky. There are two things working against the Panthers: they haven’t been playing their best brand of hockey and they need a few other teams to lose games. At the moment the Panthers are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, which puts them 5 points behind the Bruins, who own the 8th and final playoff spot. By all accounts, I think this is a race between the Senators and Bruins, with the Bruins probably winning out. A win tonight against the Hurricanes would pull them back in the race, though. If they drop to 7 points out of it then stick a fork in them it is pretty well over with. Which is sad to say, because the Panthers really did make strides this season, and with Luongo in net who knows if he could have stole a series of two for them.
The Hurricanes have been planning for the offseason for several weeks now, as they need to get back to the drawing board. Like the Panthers, they have struggled for most of the season in the offensive department. Some improvements there would help them immensely. They’ve been offensively deprived the last couple of seasons though, so I don’t know if there will be changes this time around. As far as the Panthers are concerned, I think they are going to be able to improve this offseason. Now that they are a respectable team, I think we’re going to see them be able to attract bigger name free agents. We’ll see what happens tonight, as they find themselves in an almost must-win situation for the Panthers.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers
In a lot of ways the Hurricanes and Panthers match up in many similar ways. It is probably why there has been a huge lean to one trend in this series. Goal scoring has been at a premium for both teams this season, and overall when they get together, it leads to the same result. The Canes are 27th in the NHL in scoring and have been fairly consistent with their output all season long. There hasn’t been many skewed numbers from the Hurricanes. They follow a general pattern which has been easy to predict. At 2.26 goals per game, it is most definitely below average. In their last ten games the offense has actually been even worse than usual. During that span they scored an average of only 1.80 goals per game. Believably enough, the Canes favored the UNDER 7-2-1. However, they have been playing well on the defensive front, allowing 2.40 goals a game. That equates to 4.2 goals per game in total.
The Panthers have been holding up strong on defense, too. Luongo is having a great season, after a lot of people discounted his playing abilities heading into this season. In the past ten games they’ve allowed only 2 goals a game, so both teams have been limiting the goals. Conversely, they scored 2.40 goals per game in that stretch. A lot of statistics certainly back up a low scoring game. The Hurricanes and Panthers played to the UNDER 6-1 in their last seven meetings, and additionally, the UNDER is 5-1-1 their last seven times playing in Florida. The play here should be the UNDER 5.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (+100) 5DIMES.EU – BEST ODDS