#6 Anaheim Ducksvs.#5 Florida Panthers
Friday, February 2 2017, at 10:05pm EST
Written by David Hess
Florida Panthers (25-20-5-5 SU, 23-32 PL, 24-24-7 O/U) vs Anaheim Ducks (30-18-8-2 SU, 31-27 PL, 18-27-3 O/U)
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, February 17, 2017
Where: Honda Center in Anaheim, California
Lines: Anaheim -141/ Florida +128
NHL hockey on the west coast this evening and the Florida Panthers will rumble with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Panthers come in off a big 6-5 road win in OT against San Jose, while the Ducks are off a big 1-0 road win over Minnesota. The home team has won five of the last seven games in this series.
The Florida Panthers are not having a great year as they are 25-30 overall and if the playoffs started today then they would be out as they currently sit in the 11th slot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. They have been playing a bit better of late as they have won five of their last six games after topping San Jose by a 6-4 score in OT. That was on the heels of a 7-4 road win over Nashville, so their offense is clicking at the moment and that hasn’t been the case for them for much of the year. Nick Bjugstad led the attack in the game with two goals and he now has three in his last two games and four for the year. Also scoring in the game was Jussi Jokinen, which was his 3rd in as many games and 8th on the year and Aleksander Barkov, who also scored twice and now has 13 goals on the year. The Panthers are still just 11-17 on the road for the year, while at home they are 14-13.
Taking the win against the Sharks was James Reimer, who entered the game late in the 3rd when Luongo left with an injury. Reimer is now 10-10 with a 2.55 GAA on the year, including 5-6 with a 2.66 GAA on the road, while vs the Ducks in his career he has gone 1-0 with a 1.00 GAA. If Roberto Luongo gets the nod then we note that he is 15-20 with a 2.71 GAA on the year, including 6-11 with a 2.73 GAA on the road, while vs the Ducks in his career he has gone 9-15 with a 3.02 GAA. Florida comes in ranked 23rd in the league in scoring at 2.49 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots taken (31.7 spg) and 28th in power play conversions, converting on 14.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been solid so far as they come in ranked 15th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.78 gpg, while also ranking 24th in shots allowed (31.5) and 4th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.5% of their chances.
The Anaheim Ducks continue to sit in the 2nd spot in the Pacific Division, even though they have lost four of their last six games. This is a weak division so they may just end up in at least the 2nd slot by default. Grabbing the win against the Wild was John Gibson, who had a huge game as he stopped all 37 shots that he faced for his 4th shutout of the year and the 10th of his career. Gibson should get the nod in this game and he has gone 22-22 with a 2.30 GAA on the year, including 14-8 with a 2.18 GAA here at home, while vs the Panthers in his career he has gone 0-1 with a 3.24 GAA in two games. The Ducks have really not played well on the road this year as they have gone just 13-19 away from home, but here at home they have been very tough to beat as they have gone 17-9 in their home games for the year.
Scoring their lone goal in the win was Joseph Cramarossa, which was his 4th of the year. His goal came at the 4:38 mark of the first period and after that it was a duel of solid goalies. The Ducks enter this contest ranked 20th in the league in scoring at 2.59 gpg, while also ranking 24th in shots taken (28.9 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 20.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been solid as they come in ranked 6th in goals allowed, giving up 2.50 gpg, while also ranking 9th in shots allowed (29.4) and 7th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.8% of their chances.
Anaheim is not really playing good hockey at t5he moment, while the Panthers have turned it around of late. I kinda feel this will be a high scoring game. The Panthers have scored 13 goals in their last two games and their last 10 games overall have averaged 7.0 gpg. The Ducks don’t allow many goals at home, but I feel that the panthers can put up at least two on them, while the Ducks, who have averaged 2.63 gpg at home, will be able to not a few on a Florida squad that has allowed 3.60 gpg in their last 10 games. At the very least this game should be a push, but I feel that we will see at least seven goals scored in this one.
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