NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Penguins (March 8)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby.
- The Panthers and Penguins meet in a pick'em on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
- Florida is playing its fourth game in six nights while Pittsburgh has been off since Friday.
- NHL betting analyst Jonny Lazarus breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Panthers vs. Penguins Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Florida Panthers took back possession of first place in the Atlantic Division on Monday night with a dominant 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Over in the Metro, the Pittsburgh Penguins are creeping up on first place, making this a huge game for them on home ice.
The Penguins got the best of the Panthers the last time these two teams met on Nov. 11, winning 3-2 in a shootout.
Fatigue Might Kick in for Panthers
The Panthers are set to play their second game of a back-to-back and fourth in six nights.
Despite the hectic scheduling, the Panthers were able to win the first three games of this stretch, although those weren’t against opponents nearly as good as the Penguins. Florida beat the Senators, Red Wings and Sabres by a combined score of 15-3, taking complete advantage of some of the weakest teams in the league, as they should.
It is no secret that the Panthers offense is nothing short of incredible. Florida is the best offensive team in the NHL right now, averaging more than four goals scored per game, which is absurd. Jonathan Huberdeau has had a breakout season and is emerging as an NHL superstar. He’s third in the NHL in points with 77 thanks to 18 goals and 59 assists.
The goaltending has been another incredible strength for this Panthers team. Spencer Knight got the start against Buffalo, so it is more than likely that Sergei Bobrovsky will be starting in this one.
Bobrovsky has been phenomenal this season as he is 28-6-3 with a .917 save percentage and a +21.0 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) rating. Bobrovsky made 23 saves on 25 shots in his last start, a 6-2 against the Red Wings. He’ll have to be strong here against a superior offense than Detroit.
Penguins Out to Slow Panthers Down
The Penguins will have their work cut out defensively. Luckily for them, they will have much fresher legs than their opponent. The Pens will be playing on three days’ rest, so they should come out guns blazing in this huge matchup.
Pittsburgh is coming off of a tough loss on Friday night, when they fell 3-2 to the Hurricanes in overtime. On a positive note, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each tallied a goal and an assist for the second game in a row, with captain Crosby extending his point streak to six games.
The Pens offense has been up to form this season, ranking 11th with 3.21 goals per game, but the focus in this one will not be their offense, it will be their defense and goaltending.
The Penguins have actually been one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season thanks to the consistent play of Tristan Jarry, who’s 27-11-6 this season with a .921 save percentage and a seventh-ranked +13.7 GSAx.
Jarry is going to be the X-factor in this game. Pittsburgh as a team only allows 2.58 goals per game and 30.3 shots against while limiting opponents to 10.51 high-danger chances.
The Penguins will need to take advantage of having the fresher legs in this one.
Panthers vs. Penguins Pick
The Penguins should come out and dominate the opening 20 minutes. It will be interesting to see how Florida weathers the storm.
One of the most dangerous things leading into this game is how productive Crosby has been on his six-game point streak. In this span, he has four goals and four assists and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Pittsburgh has beaten the Panthers once on home ice already this season and should be able to take advantage of a tired team. Jarry will be well-rested and ready to help the Penguins get a big win on home ice.
Pick: Penguins -110