Anaheim Ducks (4-3-1 SU, 2-6 PL, 3-5 O/U) vs. Florida Panthers (3-5 SU, 4-4 PL, 7-1 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, October 26, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. EST
The Line: Florida Panthers -115/Anaheim Ducks -105. Total: 5.5.
The Anaheim Ducks will be looking to win their third game in a row when they visit the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on Thursday night. Anaheim beat Montreal last Friday and then kicked off a road trip by getting the best of Philadelphia on Tuesday. The Panthers have lost four of their last five contests, with all four losses coming in regulation.
Persevering through adversity
The Ducks have won back-to-back contests for the first time this season and are slowly getting a little healthier. Captain Ryan Getzlaf (two points) and defenseman Hampus Lindholm (one assist) returned from injuries to contribute on the scoresheet as Anaheim defeated Philadelphia 6-2 on Tuesday. The Ducks have been without center Ryan Kesler (hip, out until at least December) and defenseman Sami Vatanen (shoulder, close to a return) all season and they recently lost defenseman Cam Fowler (knee, indefinite). Still, the team has fought its way over .500
“We’ve been banged down and beaten up here pretty good with injuries,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Anytime you can welcome veterans back and they come in, it does energize your group and it gives your group more confidence.”
Can’t kill penalties
The Panthers, who have dropped four of their last five contests, are near the bottom of the league in goals against per game (3.75) and were pounded 5-1 at Montreal on Tuesday after earning an inspiring victory at Washington in their previous outing. The biggest problem for Florida has been the penalty kill, which sits last in the league at 69.7 percent after allowing its ninth and 10 power-play goals of the season against the Canadiens. Head coach Bob Boughner blamed penalty trouble for turning the Montreal game around and his squad has allowed four power-play opportunities in each of the last four contests. Defenseman Keith Yandle scored his first goal of the season at Montreal and forward Jonathan Huberdeau added an assist to take over the team lead with eight points. Goalie Antti Niemi was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh to back up James Reimer (2-3-0, .903 save percentage) with Roberto Luongo placed on injured reserve.
The Anaheim Ducks are:
- 8-3-3 Over in their last 14 road games
- 9-4-3 Over in their last 16 games after allowing two goals or less in their previous game
- 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Eastern Conference
The Florida Panthers are:
- 7-1 Over in their last eight overall
- 4-1 Over in their last five home games
- 4-1 Over in their last five games against the Western Conference
Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in his return while playing with Rickard Rakell (score a goal on Tuesday) and Corey Perry (three assists in his last two games) on the top line. “[Rakell is] a heck of a hockey player and the three of us worked well together in the past,” Getzlaf noted. “It’s a comfort level definitely when you get back out there and know where each other is going to be. Those guys do a good job of finding open spots for me.” Anaheim forward Ondrej Kase has two goals and an assist in the last two games after missing three with a head injury. The over is 8-3-3 in the Ducks’ last 14 on the road and 9-4-3 in their last 16 after allowing two goals or less in their previous outing. It is also 7-1 in the Panthers’ last eight overall, 4-1 in their last five at home, 4-1 in their last five against the Western Conference, and 4-1-2 in their last seven against the Pacific Division. Look for this one to go over the total.