NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Panthers vs. Capitals (February 16)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Panthers vs. Capitals (February 16) article feature image

Pictured: Matthew Tkachuk. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

  • The Capitals host the Panthers in Thursday night NHL action.
  • Washington has struggled recently and our expert expects that to continue on home ice.
  • Jonny Lazarus explains why and details his best bet below.

Panthers vs. Capitals Odds

Panthers Odds-125
Capitals Odds+105
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Washington Capitals are going through some adversity and will be playing without their captain, Alexander Ovechkin, who has left the team for personal reasons.

The Capitals are fighting for a playoff spot, but they have lost two games in a row and are just two points ahead of the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers were getting hot, but had a little hiccup in their most recent game, a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. The Panthers are 4-0 in their past four meetings against the Capitals and I think Sergei Bobrovsky will help continue that trend.

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Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers have won four of their past six contests and have done an outstanding job at creating offensive opportunities. They only scored two goals in their previous game, but before that, they had been on an absolute tear.

Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart are going to be the guys to watch in this game. In their past five games, they have combined for 21 points.

Bobrovsky got the night off against the Blues, so he should be relatively well rested. He has won three of his past four starts and has only allowed six goals in those four games. He comes into this game with a .905 save percentage.

The Panthers offense may have struggled in the past two games, but it has been carrying this team lately and Florida should be able to rely on its top line to help push it over the edge.

Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals will be missing three key members of their squad in this contest — Tom Wilson, John Carlson and most importantly, Ovechkin.

The Capitals have been on a rough stretch as of late, going 4-6-0 in their past 10 games and only scoring five goals in their past three games. It is pretty evident they are going to miss Ovechkin and that his absence will have a negative impact on the team's offensive production.

Even with Ovechkin, the Caps offense hasn't been very consistent this season. Washington is averaging 3.04 goals per game, which is 20th in the NHL.

Home ice hasn't been all that much of an advantage for Washington recently. In fact, the Capitals have lost three of their past four games at Capital One Arena.

Darcy Kuemper is the likely starter in goal. He's been good this season, but if his team is going to win tonight, he may need to steal this one.

Panthers vs. Capitals Pick

Despite losing 6-2, the Florida Panthers weren't as bad as the score indicates against the St. Louis Blues. If Florida had some better puck luck, the score could have easily gone in its favor.

The Capitals are certainly struggling right now, and not having their captain and leading goal scorer is a huge hole to fill, especially when it comes to the power play.

The Panthers are one of the best teams at 5-on-5 in the NHL and they do an outstanding job of creating scoring chances. I really love their chances against an injured Capitals team that is having a tough time lately.

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