The Florida Panthers hope that a recent win over the New York Islanders can light a fire underneath their team. It wasn’t easy, but the Panthers were able to edge the Isles out for a final score of 3-2 in overtime. The Isles blew a 2-goal lead, as they stopped skating after getting the lead. That’s what bad teams do and the Isles have certainly looked like a bad team thus far.
Barzal hasn’t gotten going yet, which is going to be there catalyst. If he doesn’t perform, then the Isles fall. John Tavares isn’t there anymore to save the day. The Panthers got the win, and James Reimer got a much needed W in net, but he didn’t have to face much activity around his net.
Reimer didn’t have to make any dandy saves or win the game for the Panthers. An Islanders team who didn’t want to play won the game for the Panthers. The Panthers have been struggling to patch up their goaltending with Roberto Luongo on the mend. It shouldn’t be an injury that lingers deep into the season, so they have that to feel good about. If the Panthers continue to struggle, one would have to think that Bob Boughner’s seat is going to start to feel a little warm.
He’s been their head coach for less than two years, but Boughner is going to have to find results sooner rather than later. The Devils on the other hand are expecting to be a team that competes with the big boys in 2018-19. They narrowly lost against the Predators in their last outing, a 4-3 loss in overtime. The Devils had the lead in the 3rd, but just couldn’t hold on. A nice effort nonetheless for the Devils. With the loss, it was their third in a row, though. We’ll see if they can respond against the Panthers. Head below for our free Panthers vs. Devils pick.
Florida Panthers vs. N.J. Devils Pick
Michael Hutchison has been pretty brutal for the Panthers in net, so they’re going to have to settle on Reimer as the clear starter before Luongo returns. All Reimer had to do is make 20 easy saves against the Islanders in their last showing. That is going to be different against a good New Jersey offence this afternoon. He will be forced to make some timely saves against the Devils.
They had 36 shots against the Preds to make for the fifth time in sixth games that they’ve hit the net at least 30 times. Especially on a three-game losing streak, the Panthers should expect a strong effort from the Devils in this contest. The Devils are averaging 3.57 goals per game, while allowing 2.57 per game. Conversely, the Panthers have allowed 3.75 goals per game, with their sticky goaltending situation.
Reimer enters Saturday afternoon with a GAA of 3.46 and 0.877 save percentage. In other words, they really need Luongo back and healthy in the crease. It’s likely they go with Reimer against the Devils, but if they go with Hutchison, that’s even worse as he’s posted a 4.18 GAA and 0.839 save percentage. The win against the Islanders was only their second of the season.
Kinkaid has been sharp in his career against the Panthers. He owns a 2.02 GAA and 0.94 save percentage in a couple of showings. The early start time probably isn’t going to favour the team who has been on the road for seven days. After a close call against one of the best teams the league has to offer, the Devils will find it much easier against the Panthers. I’d ride with the Devils in this contest.