After a bit of a mid-season break between featured selections, we return on Friday night to try and start your weekend off with a little more money. We’ve gone 20-10 thus far here at The Sports Geek and have a big play going tonight. It’s an all-Southeast division clash as the Winnipeg Jets travel to Florida, to do battle with a beleaguered Panthers squad.
Winnipeg Jets (-120) @ Florida Panthers (+100)
Though both teams played last night, expect the Jets to be the fresher of the two squads. For one, they enter this contest relatively healthy compared to Florida, and seem to be playing very well on the road. Moreover, they lost to this Panthers squad on Monday evening, and will look to exact a little revenge in what seems to be a favourable spot.
The Jets will be backed by a motivated goaltender in Ondrej Pavelec. The Czech-born netminder was a revelation in Winnipeg this past season, and should be hungry to regain his number one status on the team. Al Montoya has played well when in relief of Pavelec, and if he turns in another less-than-stellar outing, look for the Jets to give Montoya more of a shot.
The Panthers also enter this game, and the reminder of the season for that matter, a severely depleted bunch. Florida has already endured a wealth of injuries, and after coming off an 8-1 beatdown against the Capitals last night, this has the look of a team on life support. The plan in the Sunshine State seems to be to lose as many games as possible, in order to procure a higher draft pick come June. Tonight the Panthers will be devoid of top-winger Kris Versteeg, and four of their top defencemen in Dmitry Kulikov, Ed Jovonovski, Tyson Strachan, and Mike Weaver. Not to mention the fact they’ve lost starting goalie Jose Theodore, and neither Jacob Markstrom nor Scott Clemmensen seem keen on filling the void effectively.
Expect a hungry and motivated Jets team to ride the momentum of their big victory last night, en route to a convincing win in Florida. The Panthers are already a defeated group, and look for the Jets to secure an easy 2 points, as their push to the playoffs continues.
PICK = Winnipeg (-120)