After twelve straight wins, the Florida Panthers are finding out what a hangover feels like. Since the Canucks snapped their winning streak, the Panthers have gone 0-3. Their latest loss coming yesterday against the Edmonton Oilers. Teams that go on these big runs, usually come down to earth sooner or later. I’m speaking of the teams who are good but not great. The great teams we expect to stay hot, like say the Capitals. But for a team like the Panthers, who are good don’t get me wrong, we didn’t expect them to play at this pace all season long. There has to be some regression expected with the Panthers. This is a critical phase for the Panthers, where I think if they hit a dry spell here continuing to the All-Star Break, it could be a sign of what is to come after the break. The Canadiens threw away their hot run at the start of the season, and the Panthers don’t want to fall victim to that. Nevertheless, the Panthers are on a pretty nice position right now with a 26-13-4 record. If you were to tell the Panthers they would be thirteen games over .500 approaching the All-Star break, they would have been ecstatic with such a positive forecast. Now the Panthers just need to hold on, and hopefully hold on long enough to capture a playoff spot.
The welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the state of Florida, where they embark on their first game of a road trip. It is going to feel nice for the Panthers, travelling from the frigid cold temperatures in Edmonton, to stepping off the plane in Florida. This isn’t a vacation for the Oilers, though. Their vacation will come early this season due to the fact they won’t be playing in the playoffs, but not yet. They can’t get caught up in the nice weather here, the Oilers have a game to play against the Panthers. The Panthers will be playing on a back-to-back following their loss yesterday against the Lightning, a 3-1 loss. The Lightning are beginning to hit their stride, let’s see if the Panthers can keep their composure heading into the break in a couple weeks.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers NHL Pick
A loss against an inferior opponent like the Oilers would be a little alarming. Nothing to jump to conclusions over, but a loss to the Lightning is one thing, a loss to the Oilers might get people thinking that the twelve game winning streak was a fluke. The Panthers will be going with Al Montoya tonight, who I feel should be getting some more work in net for the Panthers. Roberto Luongo is the primary goaltender, but Montoya has played like a guy who is the number 1. Montoya owns a 7-1-1 record and a 1.71 GAA. If Luongo gets injured the Panthers shouldn’t fret, as they have what is one of the best backups in the league. It would be interesting to see how he would do on this team as the primary starter. The Panthers are allowing 2.20 goals per game this season. They have a strong defense to go along with the goaltending. Florida has given up 9 goals in their last two games, though.
I expect after a couple of poor starts in a row, the defense for the Panthers buckles down and plays well. It’s a good matchup for the Panthers’ defense, against an Oilers’ offense which has been struggling. They’re averaging 2.33 goals per game and have gotten progressively worse. In their last ten games they scored 1.70 goals a game. Even with the bad play the last few games, the Panthers gave up 1.80 goals per game in their last ten outings. The Panthers look like the play here, but they are priced too high for me. I am going to ride the UNDER 5.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-110)