No rest for the Florida Panthers, as they have to surge forward and try to put a bad loss against the New York Rangers in the past. The Rangers have struggled at times to put the puck in the net this season, but they had no issues against a Roberto Luongo-less Panthers squad on Tuesday night. Michael Hutchison got the nod for the Panthers and he didn’t give head coach Bob Boughner much confidence to believe in him. The Panthers will go with James Reimer in net on a back-to-back.
Hutchison hasn’t been sharp in net, but neither has Reimer so they are in a tough position without a healthy Luongo. Hutchison has a 4.17 GAA and 0.839 save percentage, which should essentially give Reimer the clear starting job before Luongo returns. It doesn’t appear to be an injury that will go into December or anything, so with that, the Panthers are breathing a sigh of relief. If it does linger, they are going to be in a heap of trouble.
The Panthers started off awfully start last season as well. It wasn’t until the second-half that they flicked on the afterburners and made a serious push at going to the playoffs. It appears that they might be in danger of putting themselves in a similar position.
Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle have been horrific together on the blueline, as they committed gaff after gaff before Boughner recently broke them up. On paper they should be a solid duo together, but Yandle continually gets caught when he pushes the puck offensively, leading to a dicey situation for Ekblad. Yandle loves to get the offence game going, but it often leads issues on the other end, especially at his age it’s hard to get back against younger forwards. The Islanders are returning home after a four-game road trip, where they went 1-3. Head below for our free Panthers vs. Islanders pick.
Florida Panthers vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
Reimer doesn’t have ideal numbers either, but he does have more experience than Hutchison. He guided the Maple Leafs to the playoffs and came up big for them in spots. Reimer is best used as a backup, but his experience as a starter in Toronto helps give him an edge. He enters Wednesday with a shaky GAA of 3.92 and 0.87 save percentage. Better than Hutchison, though it’s not exactly a compliment. The Isles have only played two games in their own arena this season, a 4-0 win over the Sharks and a 4-3 loss to the Predators. It was a loss, but that isn’t a bad effort for the Isles against a superior team. They are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Sharks in San Jose.
Robin Lehner has been serviceable for the Islanders in net. He goes into Wednesday with a 2.59 GAA and 0.925 save percentage. With goal scoring up to start the year, those numbers are pretty good for him. Thomas Greiss has nearly identical stats, with a 2.59 GAA and 0.918 save percentage. Both are prone to going cold, though, which may come into play later in the year. The Panthers have allowed 4 goals per game thus far this season, a testament to their goaltending problems without Luongo. With Boughner trying to get his lines straight and no support between the pipes, it’s hard to consider the Panthers on a back-to-back in Brooklyn. The Isles likely return home to a win in this one.