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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Islanders (December 23)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Islanders (December 23) article feature image
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Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Anton Lundell #15 of the Florida Panthers.

  • The Florida Panthers and New York Islanders will face off Friday UBS Arena.
  • The Panthers enter the matchup as road favorites (moneyline: -129) with their odds moving up closer to puck drop.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the Panthers vs. Islanders odds and explains where he sees value in this line.

Panthers vs. Islanders Odds

Panthers Odds -129
Islanders Odds +106
Over/Under 6.5 (-104 / -115)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV MSGSN
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Two crucial points will be on the line Friday at UBS Arena, as the Islanders will host the Panthers for a game which already has significant playoff implications.

Both of these teams have had disappointing seasons to this point, and will enter action Friday sitting outside of the extremely crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Who might hold the upper hand in this important showdown?

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Florida Panthers

Florida was always a logical candidate to take some steps backward this season after a 2021-22 Presidents Trophy campaign which seemed to be somewhat of an overachievement.

Few thought the Panthers would drop-off this hard however, but the greatest causation is extremely clear.

Florida has skated through one of the worst man games lost situations in the entire league, and has regularly skated without a number of elite skaters in the lineup.

Even with top center and dominant two-way star Aleksander Barkov sidelined, the Panthers will be skating a significantly healthier lineup than it has at times this season.

The return of center Anton Lundell should go a long way to at least helping Florida tread water without Barkov, as now it is still icing two centers capable of driving play respectably inside the top six.

Florida’s power play should still project to be inside the league’s upper half or better despite the absence of Barkov, and the fact that the Panthers own a 26th ranked power play is downright shocking.

In the month of December the Panthers have played to a 53.08% expected goals share at even strength, despite playing a formidable slate of opponents.

If it can clean up the special teams as the roster becomes more complete, the Panthers may be a team due for significantly better results in the new year and tonight offers a massive spot to get things turned around .

Sergei Bobrovsky has been confirmed as Florida’s starting goaltender for this contest. Throughout 20 appearances this season Bobrovsky has posted a +0.4 goals saved above expected rating and .895 save percentage.


New York Islanders

After a blistering start to the season New York has fallen into a considerable rut, and after it’s 5-3 loss Thursday has now collected just eight points over the last 11 contests.

Injuries have also become a concern for the Islanders, who will likely take the ice Friday short the services of Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Palmieri, and most notably Adam Pelech.

Similar to the Panthers, the Islanders have skated to a solid expected goals share, sitting with a 50.14% rating in the month of December which should inspire some hope.

The Islanders are skating a little less in the way of true scoring talent than the Panthers, and may be hard pressed to steal games between these sides which feature relatively even game play.

Ilya Sorokin started Thursday versus New York, but may go back-to-back in this spot with Semyon Varlamov being listed as day-to-day. Especially as this is a very important game, and the Islanders will be off until the 27th.

Confirmation of that will likely come after the morning skate, but it is worth noting that if Sorokin rests it will likely be veteran Cory Schneider taking the ice, which would move the betting numbers significantly.


Panthers vs. Islanders Pick

The Panthers are taking the ice in a favorable spot Friday, as it will catch the Islanders on a back-to-back having played a hotly contested affair at MSG.

Florida has still displayed mildly better form of late than the Islanders, and even with Barkov sidelined the roster is healthier than it has been much of this season, and features a number of scorers capable of exposing the Islanders shaky defensive play.

Considering the spot as well, my belief is that a fair price for Florida would be -130 and that we have value down a number of -125 to back a Panthers win.

If you are personally thinking backing the Islanders is the right idea, I would recommend waiting until news of New York’s starting goalie drops. If it’s Sorokin you will not likely still get -105 or so, while if it is Cory Schneider prices around +110 should become available.

Pick: Panthers moneyline -125 or better

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