Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators

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The Florida Panthers were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 and 3-2 in their most recent two outings and are 13-4-4 with 30 points. The Hurricanes are 3rd in the Central division one point behind both Tampa Bay and Carolina. The Panthers hold a two-point lead over 4th place Chicago. Florida has had its problems putting the puck in the net of late as Florida has scored a combined eight goals over its last four games resulting in three losses and a goals per game average of 2.00 over that span.

Nashville was defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Tuesday night snapping a two-game winning streak for the Predators. Nashville is 10-12-0 with 20 points. The Predators are 6th in the Central Division 11 points behind both Tampa Bay and Carolina. Prior to the loss to Carolina, Nashville had won two consecutive games over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Scoring continues to be Nashville’s biggest problem as the Predators are scoring an average of just 2.17 goals per game.

Lack of Scoring Hurting the Panthers

The Florida Panthers are scoring an average of 3.14 goals per game but have averaged just 2.00 goals per game in their last four. The leading goal scorer for Florida is Patric Hornqvist with nine, while Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have each scored 8 goals. The leader in assists for Florida is Huberdeau with 16, while Barkov has 14 assists. The overall points leader for Florida is Huberdeau with 24. Florida’s power play has generated 16 goals and is scoring 25.0% of the time with the man advantage.

Florida’s blue line and goalies have played very well as the Panthers are allowing an average of only 2.76 goals-per-game. Chris Driedger is 7-2-2 in 11 appearances with a 2.25 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Driedger has allowed 25 goals in his 11 appearances. Sergei Bobrovsky, who missed several of Florida’s games earlier this season due to injury, is 2-0-0 with a 3.35 goals against average and .879 save percentage. The Florida penalty kill unit has been successful 77.0% of the time when short-handed.

Injury Report: Gustav Forsling is questionable for Thursday, while Anthony Duclair is out until mid-March, Noah Juulson and Markus Nutivaara are out indefinitely.

Nashville needs help in the attacking zone

Nashville is lacking a proven NHL goal scorer and the evidence is obvious as Nashville averages only 2.17 goals-per-game. The leading goal scorer for Nashville through 22 games is Filip Forsberg with nine, while the next highest goal-scorer is Calle Jarnkrok with five goals and Mikael Granlund has scored four. The assists leader for Nashville is Roman Josi with 11, while Forsberg has 10 assists and is the overall points leader with 19. Nashville has also had problems scoring with the man advantage as the Predators have scored just 14 power-play goals and are scoring only 18.7% of the time with the man advantage.

Nashville’s blue line and goaltenders are attempting to keep up with the lack of scoring by the Predators but have not always exceeded. Nashville is allowing an average of 2.96 goals per game. Nashville’s two goalies have each appeared in 13 games with Juuse Saros 5-5-0 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .895 save percentage, while Pekka Rinne is 5-7-0 with a 2.46 goals against average and .913 save percentage. Rinne has posted one shutout this season. The Nashville penalty-kill unit has been successful 71.2% of time when shorthanded.

Injury Report: Mark Borowiecki is questionable for Thursday, while Luke Kunin is out until early April, Ryan Ellis is out until mid-April, Ryan Johansen, Brad Richardson and Luca Sbisa are all out indefinitely

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Florida Panthers are allowing an average of only 2.76 goals per game and will be facing an anemic Nashville attack that is averaging only 2.17 goals per game this season. Florida is in third place in the Central Division but only one point behind both Carolina and Tampa Bay, and earlier shared first place with Tampa Bay. Florida has dominated this series of late winning four of the last 5 on Nashville’s home ice and five of the last seven overall against the Predators. The favorite (FLA) in this match-up has won 15 of the last 22 meetings between the two.

Florida Panthers -135

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Full-Game Total Pick

Nashville cannot score and Florida has seen its scoring dwindle of late. Nashville is scoring an average of 2.17 goals per game and Florida has scored an average of only 2.00 goals per game over the last four games played. The total has finished under in five of the last seven meetings between these two Central division rivals. Florida has seen the total finish under in five of its last six.