I said if the Islanders were able to knock the Penguins off back-to-back nights then we should start to take note of them. With a 14-6 record, the Isles are looking more and more like the Avalanche of this season. A lot of people thought Colorado was going to hit a wall last season, and I think the same can be said for the Isles this season. With plenty of time remaining in the season, we’ll see how it goes. That was the first time all season the Penguins lost two in a row and oddly enough it was against the same team on back-to-back nights. The Pens led the game for the majority of the contest, 1-0, and it was looking like they might have been able to coast. But like they’ve been doing in spurts all year, the Islanders busted out for 4 straight goals to make it a 4-1 final. Despite the two losses in a row, the Penguins should be fine going forward. Unfortunately I had to be a part of one of their losses, though. Who knows, we may see these two teams playing one another again with a little more on the line.
Not exactly the same hype for our game tonight. In fact, the only people that will be watching this are people with money on it and Minnesota Wild fans. I’m going to exclude Florida Panther fans from this discussion, because well, the Panthers have no fans. If there are any Panthers’ fans out there reading this, please send me a shout, I would be impressed. The last time the Panthers were relevant was when John Vanbiesbrouch was the in net. Remember the awesome helmet he used to have? That goes down as my favorite helmet of all time outside of Felix Potvin. Oh, and remember when the fans used to throw plastic rats on the ice? That was about the last time Florida fans cared about hockey there. I can say one thing about this current Panthers team. I have to imagine that Roberto Luongo loves being a member of this club. After two years of ridicule playing in Vancouver, the heat is off of Luongo in Florida where he can play a relaxed brand of hockey. Collecting millions, living in Florida, no pressure, I have to think that is better than getting ripped on the airwaves everyday in Vancouver from fans. And as a member of the Panthers, he has enjoyed some considerable success.
Minnesota Wild @ Florida Panthers
Yes, Luongo has had success with the Panthers. Is it going to be the same kind of success that he had when the Canucks went to the Stanley Cup finals? Definitely not. But a solid GAA and a generous amount of wins for Luongo will end up being a good season for him. After all, he is just riding out the rest of his career in Florida without too much weight on his shoulders. There isn’t much of a team in front of Luongo for this to be a playoff contender. They really lack anything of substance offensively, as goals have been hard to come by for the Panthers thus far, and should not be any different for the rest of the season. Note that the Panthers are scoring only 2.17 goals per game, which is 28th in the NHL, 3rd last. However, the defense and Luongo has done a pretty solid job against opposing offenses, holding them to 2.44 goals a game which makes them a top 10 defense.
The offense is going to have a tough time trying to crack the Wild defense. Minnesota is 6th in the league in that regard and we look for that to be why they will be competitive in the NHL playoffs, where defense usually wins out that time of year. Their offense has yet to show up on the road this season, where they are averaging only 1.8 goals per game. Head-to-head the Wild and Panthers haven’t gone OVER the total in seven games. The last six were either a push on the total or a win for the UNDER. This season the Wild are 12-6 to the UNDER while the Panthers are 10-6 to the UNDER. I look for a low scoring contest, with a good chance of the UNDER giving us money Monday night.
Pick – UNDER 5 GOALS (+109) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)