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Blues vs. Panthers NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction (Dec. 7)

Blues vs. Panthers NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction (Dec. 7) article feature image
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Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Ville Husso

  • The St. Louis Blues host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
  • The Blues have hit a rough patch over the past month with injuries and COVID-related absences.
  • Does Florida have enough of an edge here to lay the juice on the road?

Blues vs. Panthers Odds

Panthers Odds -130
Blues Odds +105
Over/Under 6
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Florida and St. Louis will get reacquainted for the second leg of a home-and-home set on Tuesday night, with Florida managing a 4-3 shootout victory over the Blues on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers could see the return of one of the league’s elite players, while the Blues are dealing with an injury crisis of their own. After starting 7-1-1, St. Louis has now scuffled to a 12-8-4 mark altogether this season.

The Panthers Are a Wagon

The Panthers possess an almost unfair wealth of offensive talent this season. Despite playing without Aleksander Barkov, the Panthers have tallied 14 goals over their current three-game winning streak.

While the team has been managing life without Barkov effectively, the return of the talismanic Finn will be a huge boost for the Cats — and it could come on Tuesday night.

Sam Reinhart has broken through with some bigger offensive numbers of late, with six points over the last three contests, and appears likely to skate on a very strong second line with Sam Bennett and Jonathon Huberdeau tomorrow night.

Rookie Anton Lundell has enjoyed an excellent start to his NHL career, with 11 points in 20 games and displaying some excellent two-way play slotted mainly as the Panthers’ No. 3 center. He should stay in that role Tuesday between Frank Vatrano and Owen Tippett, making up one of the league’s most talented third lines.

The result of Florida’s deep roster has been the league’s second-best scoring offense (3.83 goals per game) that has also paced the NHL in expected goals per game over the last month, with many games played without Barkov.

Florida has allowed a reasonable 2.34 expected goals per 60 minutes over that span and has skated to a terrific 58.45% expected goals rate.

Sergei Bobrovsky will likely draw the start, and has bounced back this season with a 13.1 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx) and a .920 save %, although he has been notably worse of late, and I do expect his numbers to trend closer to what we’ve seen over a large sample size in recent years.

Update 2:40 EST:

Florida have announced they will start Spencer Knight. My personal opinion is that long-term he and Bobrovsky will trend closer numbers wise, and I am perfectly content to keep action in place.

The Short-Handed Blues

The Blues were tabbed by many to regress after their blistering start defied some of their underlying metrics and those predictions have come to fruition to the tune of a 5-7-2 record over the last month of play.

Surely that mark has been worsened by notable roster losses such as Torey Krug, who is very crucial with the roster’s lack of suitable depth defensemen, but life isn’t getting any easier as Justin Faulk will remain out on the back-end.

Robert Thomas will join the growing absence list, and has been very strong so far posting 22 points in 24 games this season. As well David Perron could remain out up front, leaving the group short some significant offensive punch.

Oh, and the Blues will be without their No. 1 goaltender, Jordan Binnington.

The good news for the Blues is that deputy netminder Ville Husso has been terrific so far this season. After a rough rookie campaign in 2020/21, Husso has posted a .929 save percentage to go along with a +4.4 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in six games this season.

Backup Ville Husso did put together a spectacular performance Saturday in Florida, stopping 48 of 51 shots faced and claiming the game’s second star. Husso has put together his best NHL season so far, stopping .929 % of shots faced with a +4.4 GSAx rating over a small sample size of 6 games.

stanley cup odds-2021
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Aleksander Barkov, Sergei Bobrovsky

Blues vs. Panthers Pick

Despite the game going to a shootout thanks to Husso’s heroics, the Panthers dominated the first contest of this two-game set. The Cats were all over the Blues at 5-on-5 and created plenty of chances.

St. Louis was lucky to get a point, and although Florida’s home-ice advantage certainly played a part, I think the Panthers are just a much deeper group than the Blues at the moment.

Florida’s roster will be notably stronger now with the likely return of Barkov, as well as St. Louis seeing Robert Thomas join an already significant absence list for the Blues.

Defenders Marco Scandella, Niko Mikkola and Robert Bortuzzo have been exposed in 5-on-5 play in advanced roles for St. Louis and will have a hard time hiding out again here.

I think there’s a good chance that we see the Panthers control the run of play again on Tuesday night and that should turn into another victory over a depleted Blues team.

Pick: Florida Panthers -145 or better

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