Panthers at Penguins Updated Odds, Betting Pick, Prediction: Back Florida With Sergei Bobrovsky in Net
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sergei Bobrovsky
- Updated Panthers at Penguins odds list Florida is a -125 favorite, up five cents from the opener on Tuesday night, as they look to bounce back from consecutive losses earlier this week.
- Florida still won the expected goals battle at even strength in both those games, and Nicholas Martin believes this is a get-right spot with Sergei Bobrovsky back in net.
- Get his full Panthers vs. Penguins preview and betting prediction below.
Panthers vs. Penguins Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a blistering 10-0-1 start, the Florida Panthers have lost two in a row and will head to Pittsburgh looking to halt the streak against a Penguins team that is also mired in a two-game slump.
The Panthers have become one of the most likeable, exciting teams to watch in the NHL over the last season-plus. Influenced by their elite forwards, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, the Cats have a deadly offense. That attack will be put to the test against the Penguins, who continue to play a very sharp defensive game while skating without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Will the Penguins manage to shutdown what could be the league’s most dangerous offense on Thursday night?
No Reason to Worry About Panthers’ Consecutive Losses
It’s a very tight league, and ultimately posting a record anywhere near the 10-0-1 mark Florida began this season with is unsustainable, and the Panthers saw some of that expected regression a 4-3 loss to the Rangers. The Cats dominated the puck in that game but came up short. It happens. Florida followed that performance up with a 7-3 loss to the Devils in what was the team’s worst performance of the season.
Despite the two losses, the Panthers still were on the plus-side of the expected goals ledger in the two contests. Florida created 8.08 xG and allowed 6.5 xG against versus the Rangers and Devils. There is nothing that really concerns me from those two results, though No. 2 goalie Spencer Knight was a bit shaky.
Those concerns are negated somewhat because this forward corps is incredibly deep and has a lot of upside beyond Huberdeau and Barkov.
Rookie Anton Lundell has been very strong in the early going, and could realistically be one of the better No. 3 centers in the league this season. He’s slotted in nicely behind Sam Bennett, who continues to post surprisingly strong offensive numbers with the Panthers.
Anthony Duclair has also been terrific and has quietly managed to average a point per game while playing just 14:09 per contest. Carter Verhaeghe has been an excellent complementary piece at the top of the roster, Owen Tippett has continued his strong development and Sam Reinhart has tallied 10 points in 13 contests, while looking like he can offer even more.
There’s almost too many positives amongst the unit to even comment on, and I certainly feel the team can stay within the league’s top three with regards to offensive production given the depth, and that this start is no fluke.
One of the team’s only concerns is the defensive depth behind Aaron Ekblad and Mackenzie Weegar. Ekblad and Weegar are one of the NHL’s best partnerships, but the rest of the blueline feels wanting.
Gustav Forsling and Radko Gudas own just a 46.3 xGF% over 146.2 minutes together so far this season, and that is particularly worrisome since this team generally dominates its opposition.
Spencer Knight has been another concern, and so far has made me look foolish in claiming he would eventually steal the starter’s role from Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been spectacular in the early going.
Bobrovsky is likely to return Thursday night, and will look to improve on the league’s top goals saved above expected (GSAx) mark at +14.4, to go along with his .948% save percentage (SV%).
Penguins Scoring Despite Missing Pieces
Pittsburgh’s 4-3-4 start appears respectable considering the man games lost, but that record does place the Pens in last place in the fiercely competitive Metropolitan Division, and the team will need to trend upwards significantly to keep its lengthy playoff streak alive.
Bryan Rust has returned effectively, posting three points in his last two contests, and is a crucial addition when considering the pieces missing from the group.
However, I am surprised — and impressed — to see the Penguins manage 3.18 goals per game given the current forward depth on the roster. And whether the analytics agree or not, I would not count on them to continue scoring at this rate sans Crosby and Malkin.
Tristan Jarry will likely get the start in goal and he’s started his bounce-back season effectively with a .926 SV% and a +3.5 GSAx.
Panthers vs. Penguins Pick
Pittsburgh’s 0-3 record in shootouts makes its record look worse than it should. Mike Sullivan has his team believing it can stay afloat without Crosby and Malkin and they are playing a sharp brand of hockey. I would tread lightly going against this team in a lot of spots going forward.
This is not one of those spots.
Florida has been one of the most impressive teams in the league over the first month of the season and I expect that dominance to continue all season long. With the in-form Bobrovsky expected to return, I think there is considerable value on the Panthers even as road favorites.
The Panthers are, quite simply, skating a more talented roster in every area of the ice and I think have more than a 55% chance of winning this contest.
Pick: Florida -120 (Play to -135).