NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Panthers (November 9)
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 08: Florida Panthers Left Wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) is pictured prior to the National Hockey League game between the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers on November 8, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)
Devils vs. Panthers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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After getting off to the best start in franchise history, the Florida Panthers came up just short of re-writing an NHL record with a loss to the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Despite the hot start, it’s been a dramatic month in South Florida with the dismissal of head coach Joel Quenneville due to his involvement in the Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.
Quenneville’s dismissal hasn’t seemed to damper the play of the Cats, as they lead the NHL with 21 points, rank third in points percentage (.875) and boast terrific underlying metrics.
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Panthers are decent road favorites over the New Jersey Devils, who just returned home from a West Coast swing that saw them take three of a possible six points.
Florida’s Flukey First Regulation Loss
Florida’s point streak may have come to an end on Monday night, but anybody who watched that game knows the Cats were the better team. Unfortunately this is hockey, and that means the “better” team doesn’t always wins. The Panthers won the expected goals battle, 3.9 to 2.6, in all situations against the Rangers and if it weren’t for Igor Shesterkin’s heroics, Florida would have won handily.
Shesterkin outplayed Florida’s rookie netminder Spencer Knight, who allowed four goals on 18 shots. Knight had been playing pretty well up until that point, but it’s actually been Sergei Bobrovsky who has been the top dog in Florida’s blue paint this season. In fact, Bobrovsky leads all goaltenders with a +9.5 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) to start the season.
Bobrovsky has been dealing with an injury, however, and the team is on a back-to-back, so we won’t know who between Knight, Bobrovsky or No. 3 goalie Chris Gibson will get the nod in Jersey.
Whoever does get the start will be playing behind a team that ranks seventh in expected goals rate, 12th in high-danger chance percentage and second in goal differential at 5-on-5.
New Jersey Devils Hoping to Find Consistency
It’s been an up-and-down start to the season for the Devils, but they’ve played admirably despite some tough injury luck. Not only has New Jersey been without its best forward, Jack Hughes, for a while, but the team also announced a long-term injury for depth forward Miles Wood.
The good news is that the team’s No. 1 defenseman, Dougie Hamilton, is back in the lineup and so is starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood has only made one start this season, so it’s anybody’s guess the kind of form he will be in as he gets a few games under his belt.
The Devils need to find a way to play consistently, but with so many key injuries, it’s pretty impressive that this team has been able to skate to a 5-3-2 record and a 54.1% expected goals rate so far.
Panthers vs. Devils Pick
It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the Panthers goaltending situation for this one. An NHL back-to-back would be a new experience for Spencer Knight and Chris Gibson is a replacement-level netminder. That said, if Bobrovsky is in net, the edge in goal is with the Panthers.
As I stated above, the Devils have been a pretty plucky team at 5-on-5 but are underperforming their expected goals, so I think they can hang with the Panthers here, so long as the game stays at even strength. Throw in home-ice advantage and the rest edge and I think the Devils are worth a shot as an underdog.
Pick: New Jersey Devils +125