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Panthers vs. Golden Knights Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Vegas’ Luck Turn? (March 17)

Panthers vs. Golden Knights Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Vegas’ Luck Turn? (March 17) article feature image

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Anton Lundell of the Florida Panthers

  • The Golden Knights carry a five-loss streak home to host the Panthers on Thursday night.
  • Can Las Vegas finally break its slump on its home ice? Or is Florida too much?
  • Our NHL betting analyst makes their pick and prediction based on the odds below.

Panthers vs. Golden Knights Odds

Panthers Odds -135
Golden Knights Odds +110
Over/Under 6.5 (-110/-110)
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV NHL Network
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Golden Knights will return the Las Vegas looking to snap a five-loss slump after a disastrous road trip. Things won’t get much easier, however, as the Knights will play host to the lethal Florida Panthers.

With missing the playoffs now a legitimate possibility, Vegas will be desperate to claim two points here. But will the Knights be able to sort out their poor defensive play against the East’s deepest offensive unit?

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Vegas Golden Knights

The Knights lost each of their past five games inside of regulation on the road with a combined goal differential of -11. With a ton of key pieces out of the lineup, they’ve had concerning play in essentially all areas of the game recently.

Offensively, the Knights scored just 2.2 goals for per game over the five-loss streak, with the play at 5-on-5 looking less than threatening. The powerplay has also looked very out of sorts. The losses of Reilly Smith, Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty are valid excuses, but the Knights need to find more offensive production with the bodies in the lineup, or a shocking playoff miss seems in order.

Defensively, Vegas has also been in a notably poor run of form, allowing 4.6 goals against per game on the road trip. The absences to Robin Lehner in goal, as well as Alec Martinez and Brayden McNabb are surely part of the problem. With none of the three likely to return this Thursday, it seems plausible the struggles could continue.

A solid 57.74 expected goals rate over this five-game slump suggests the Knights likely could have fared better. But with some of their most talented scorers out of the lineup, as well as their top goaltender, it’s not surprising to see them allow more goals against than expected and also score below the expected rate.

Vegas did face some considerably lesser competition over its road trip, as Pittsburgh was the only playoff bound opponent. Now the Knights prepare to take on one of the league’s very best in the Panthers.

Laurent Brossoit should get the start for Vegas on Thursday. He has played to a -1.3 goals saved above expected rating with an .895 save % throughout 24 games played this season.

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Florida Panthers

In what seemed like a rare off night against San Jose — at least for the first two periods — Florida still managed to breakthrough with a massive third period before eventually taking the game in overtime.

When this team is clicking on all cylinders, it can be next to impossible to shutdown. And I believe we can see the Panthers get up for this atmosphere and ride the momentum produced from the end of that Sharks contest.

This Panthers team has consistently dominated all season long, and the month of March has been no different. They have played to a 60.69 expected goals rate over seven contests this month, and there continues to be no reason to expect this group to slow down as the talent — as well as the analytics — suggest these consistently dominant results are no fluke.

Anton Lundell should remain the only meaningful absence, so the Knights will be tasked with shutting down a very deep Panthers offensive core on Thursday.

The back end is the Panthers’ clear weakness, and they dealt away forward Frank Vatrano to help clear space for defensemen Ben Chiarot on Wednesday. Chiarot has struggled this season, but was a big part of Montreal’s defensive core during the Canadiens’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final last spring.

Florida is likely banking on the idea that a change of scenery can help.

Panthers vs. Knights Pick

With the talent on hand, it seems past the point that we will see Vegas simply turn it around on desperation alone, and the Knights will remain without a number of key pieces on Thursday night.

Considering that they have allowed a ton of goals against over this last stretch, they are entering a nightmare matchup against the Panthers. Florida’s offensive talents can prove very tough for any competition to keep in check, let alone a club that is clearly in a bad spell of play such as Vegas.

Altogether, I am very surprised to see these odds open with Florida priced as only a -130 favorite — trying to lock in that price as soon as possible is wise, as sharp money and the public alike should be all over the Panthers at such a number (compare real-time NHL odds here).

Pick: Panthers -130 (to -150)

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