Tonight on the ice, the Central Division will square off with the Atlantic Division as the Winnipeg Jets duke it out with the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Jets enter this game off a 5-1 loss at Detroit, while the Panthers come in off a 5-4 shootout loss at home to the Islanders. Goalie Probables: Connor Hellebuyck will get the nod for the Jets in this one and he will be opposed by Roberto Luongo.
Jets Get Wings Clipped By Detroit
It really was an unexpected loss as the Jets had been playing very well of late, while the Red Wings had really been struggling, but in the end, it was Detroit that came out on top by a score of 5-1. The Red Wings came into that game having lost their last seven games and had just been crushed by the Canadiens by a score of 10-1, but they rose up and were able to take this one. The Jets are still at 17-11 on the year and are in 2nd place in the Central Division. They will be a force to be reckoned with as the season goes on. Scoring their lone goal in the loss was Patrik Laine, which was his 14th of the year. The Jets have gone 7-8 on the road this year. Absorbing the loss against the Red Wings was Connor Hellebuyck, who allowed five goals on 32 shot attempts to fall to 15-6 with a 2.44 GAA and a .921 save percentage on the year overall, including 5-5 with a 2.72 GAA and a .915 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 21-21 with a 2.76 GAA on the road and 22-18 with a 2.94 GAA against the Atlantic Division, while against the Panthers in his career, he has gone 2-0 with a 1.92 GAA.
Winnipeg has been a very solid offensive team so far as they rank 5th in the league in scoring at 3.39 gpg, while also ranking 25th in shots taken (30.1 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 26.7% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been solid so far as they come in ranked 8th in goals allowed, giving up 2.71 gpg, while also ranking 19th in shots allowed (32.3 spg) and 15th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 19.4% of their chances.
Panthers Continue To Struggle
It has really been a tough go of it for the Panthers this year and they are now on another losing skid as they have lost their last three games in a row after falling to the Islanders at home score of 5-4 in a shootout. Making it worse is that they may have lost Roberto Luongo for the 2nd time after he left this game with a leg Injury. Taking the loss against the Islanders was James Reimer, who allowed three goals on 19 shot attempts after coming in for the injured Luongo. He is listed as questionable for this game. Reimer is now 4-9 with a 3.67 GAA and a .892 save percentage on the year, including 2-4 with a 4.42 GAA and .871 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 54-61 with a 2.75 GAA in his home games and 37-33 with a 2.68 GAA against the Western Conference, while against the Jets he has gone 3-6 with a 3.24. Reimer is not really the answer for this team as a backup and his numbers show that and with an offense that has averaged just 2.00 gpg in their last 10 games, it will be tough for this team to win many games. Scoring in the loss to the Islanders was Nick Bjugstad, which was his 7th of the year, Aaron Ekblad, which was his 4th of the year, Aleksander Barkov, which was his 10th and Denis Malgin, which was his 2nd. The Panthers have gone 5-8 here at home.
Florida has been below average on offense so far as they come into this ranked 20th in the league in scoring at 2.85 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots taken (35.0 spg) and 26th in power play conversions, converting on 16.7% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very poor as they come in ranked 28th in goals allowed, giving up 3.37 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots allowed (35.6 spg) and 29th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 25.0% of their chances.
- The Over is 9-2 in their last 11 when their opponent allows five goals or more in their previous game
- The Over is 21-6-1 in their last 28 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
- The Over is 5-1 in their last six after allowing five goals or more in their previous game
- The Over is 9-4 in their last 13 home games
The Panthers have not been that good this year and now they may have lost their goalie again. James Reimer is not the answer for them and he has a 4.42 GAA here at home on the year, plus a 3.24 GAA in his career against the Jets. Even if Roberto Luongo gets the start in this one, I expect the Jets to put up some goals, especially after their horrible showing against the Red Wings. The Panthers have averaged a solid 3.46 gpg here at home for the year and Connor Hellebuyck has a 2.72 GAA on the road. I look for plenty of scoring in this one, especially since Florida home games have averaged 7.23 gpg. This will be a much stronger play if Reimer is in the crease for the Panthers.