Predators vs. Panthers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Elite Florida Should Cruise (February 22)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Picturd: Jonathan Huberdeau and Sergei Bobrovsky
- Panthers-Predators sets up as a quality matchup, but could the result be a foregone conclusion?
- Florida remains one of the best teams in the league, while Nashville has scuffled of late.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Predators vs. Panthers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Nashville Predators head to South Florida to face the red-hot Florida Panthers. It’ll be the first time these teams square off this season.
Nashville is having a wonderful year, but it’s certainly been a massive struggle as of late. Since coming back from the All-Star break, the Predators lost all four games that they’ve played, and are in danger of losing their position in the playoffs.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Panthers couldn’t be in a better position. Currently one point back from the best record in the league, they are a favorite to win the East. They’re 8-2 in their last 10, and 3-0 since the All Star break.
Predators Have Been Solid All Season
Many didn’t expect much of the Preds this year. The general consensus was that Nashville would end up as a mediocre team, coach Jon Hynes would get fired and hope for the best for next year. However, despite its current losing streak, this year is different. The Predators are getting exceptional production from Matt Duchene, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg are averaging more than a point per game, and Tanner Jeannot has been a sneaky good find.
The Predators are pretty decent team at driving plays. They’re loaded with legitimate playmakers so it shouldn’t be a surprise. They sit in a solid position at 14th with an expected goals per 60 of 2.52, however are one of the worst teams at creating high danger chances. On the man advantage, though, the Preds are ranked ninth, scoring 23.8% of the time on the power play.
One of the aspects that was constantly acclaimed was their defensive prowess. They’re second in high danger chances allowed and 12th in goals allowed.
Juuse Saros has been absolutely fantastic all season and picking up right where his predecessor Pekka Rinne left off. The Finnish netminder is posting a .923 SV% with an elite 17.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). Backup David Rittich hasn’t played since January 18th, and since this game is against one of the top teams, I wouldn’t be surprised if Saros gets the nod in this matchup.
Panthers Have Elite Offense
The Florida Panthers are a force to be reckoned with. They’re as deep as any team in the league, and have separated themselves from the pack. Jonathan Huberdeau is a superstar and he and captain Aleksander Barkov average more than a point per game, while Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad are solidifying themselves as premier players as well.
Florida is elite at driving play, ranking first in both expected goals per 60 (3.52 xGF/60) as well as high danger chances created. While the power play is pretty good, the Panthers veer toward the middle of the pack, scoring at a 20.3% clip.
When a team is so effective on the offensive end, it can sacrifice the defensive efforts. The Panthers are by no means poor defensively, but they’re average at worst, ranking 20th in high danger chances allowed, and 14th in goals allowed.
Sergei Bobrovsky continues to be a top goaltender in the league and has been a major contributing force to Florida’s success. The two-time Vezina winner is posting elite numbers with a .919 SV% and a 20.8 GSAx. Backup Spencer Knight was coming off an injury and did a conditioning stint in the AHL. For his first pro season, he’s posting a .898 SV% and a -3.7 GSAx. However, I see Bobrovsky starting tonight.
Predators vs. Panthers Pick
It’ll be a good battle between two of the league’s top goaltenders so it’ll be interesting to see if the puck goes in a ton. However, Florida is well known for blowing its opponents out by a large margin. With Nashville’s current struggles and Florida’s firepower, this seems like a recipe to bet the puck line.
Nashville is a quality team, but Florida is that much better. The Panthers can slip through any defense and have had their way with some of the league’s top defenses (Calgary, Tampa). I don’t foresee the Preds being much of a problem for them.
Pick: Florida -1.5 (+120)