It almost feels like the Florida Panthers have been stuck in mud this season. After a big rush of success in the 2015-16 season, the Panthers have struggled to find their footing. The Panthers pulled off a shocker by firing Gerard Gallant on the road in Carolina. The pictures of him getting into a cab following the game made the rounds on the internet. Gallant, who was being considered for Coach of the Year honors last season, found himself without a job just a few months later. The Panthers haven’t improved much since he was fired, like I said, stuck in mud.
They’ve been trading wins and losses, as they come into Calgary with a record of 20-17-8. The Panthers have had plenty of time to get ready and rest up for the Flames. They last took the ice on January 14th, which resulted in a solid 4-3 win against the Blue Jackets. The Jackets have suddenly found normalcy, after they came just short of breaking the longest winning streak in NHL history. Variance has a way of catching up to teams.
The Flames are trying to shake off mediocracy as well. Nevertheless, they have improved quite a bit over the dumpster fire that was last season. Notably, the defence has been looking better, despite Brian Elliott’s struggles. Elliott was brought in from St. Louis to be a rock in net, but he has been topsy-turvy in net. If he’s played like he did last season with the Blues, the Flames would be looking at the playoffs right now. He was brought in to do just that in Calgary, but he isn’t holding his end of the bargain thus far.
Elliott has gotten better from where he was to open the season, but we’re all waiting for him to be the same goaltender who could steal games on a consistent basis. For the Flames to make a strong push towards a postseason spot, they’re going to need that to happen. It sounds simple, but it really comes down to Elliott between the pipes for the Flames. We’ll see how he does, opposite Roberto Luongo in net tonight.
The ageless one Roberto Luongo has been hanging in there well for the Panthers. Luongo seems content playing in Florida, after facing all kinds of pressure playing in Vancouver. He’s out of Vancouver, and Luongo is no longer there for fans to put the blame on. It is what it is, and he was not treated so well by management and others in his later years with the Canucks. Here with the Panthers there isn’t much pressure. Luongo currently holds a GAA of 2.39 and 0.922% save percentage. He had a couple of nice games where he allowed just 1 goal, but he’s coming off an outing with 4 goals surrendered against the New York Islanders. The Panthers are 13th in the NHL with 2.60 goals allowed per game.
The Florida offence has failed to facilitate much this season. They’ve been trying to find a scoring punch but it’s been difficult. The Panthers are averaging only 2.29 goals per game this season, and 2.10 goals in their last ten games. Conversely, the Flames have been getting much better on defence, as they allowed 2.10 goals a game in their last ten outings. Elliott looked great against the Oilers the other night, letting in just 1 goal in overtime on 27 shots. The UNDER has gone 7-3 for the Panthers in their last ten games, and 6-3-1 for the Flames. We got a lot of goals last night in the Capitals-Penguins showdown, a bet we cashed easily. However, I foresee a quieter game in Calgary, with the UNDER providing us with a winning ticket on Tuesday night.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS (-105)