Saturday evening on the NHL ice and a pair of teams from the Central Division will square off as the Florida Panthers pay a visit to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to grapple with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Panthers come in at 33-19 while the Blackhawks have gone 22-28. Florida leads the season series 5-2.
Panthers Continue Their March To The PostseasonThe Florida Panthers have clinched a spot in the playoffs as they have 71 points on the year while is 17 points more than the Stars, who are in 5th place in the Central. Florida has 33 wins on the year, and they come in having gone 6-2 over their last eight games. Florida took game one of this set by a score of 4-3 in OT, and they are now 5-2 against the Blackhawks on the year. The offense continues to shine for the Panthers as they have averaged 4.0 gpg over their last eight games. The Panthers now have their sights set on the division crown. They trail Carolina by just two points, and after this game, Florida has a home game against Dallas, filled by two home games against Tampa Bay to close out the season.
Scoring in the win was Alex Wennberg, which was his 13th of the year, Anthony Duclair, which was his 8th, Brandon Montour, which was his 7th, and Sam Bennett, whose 9th of the year was the game-winner in OT. Snatching up the win was Spencer Knight, who stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced to improve to 3-0 with a 1.67 GAA on the year. The Panthers will trot out Sergei Bobrovsky for this one, and he has gone 17-10 with a 2.94 GAA on the year, including 8-5 with a 3.11 GAA on the road. In his career, he has gone 143-108 with a 2.60 GAA on the road and 11-7 with a 2.53 GAA against the Blackhawks. Bobrovsky is 3-1 with a 2.74 GAA against Chicago this year.
Team Stats & Rankings: Florida enters this contest ranked 7th in scoring at 3.31 gpg, 2nd in shots per game at 34.7, and 6th in power-play conversions at 26.0%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 14th in goals allowed at 2.78 gpg, 18th in shots per game allowed at 30.4, and 12th in penalty kill at 80.6%.
Blcakhawks Still Have A Shot At The PlayoffsThe Chicago Blackhawks have not had a great season overall, but they still have a shot at the postseason. It is a slim one, though. Chicago is just six points out of the 4th slot in the Central Division, but after this game, they have three road games in a row against Carolina, who will be giving it their all as they are fighting for a division crown. Chicago then finishes the regular season with two home games against Dallas. The Blackhawks need to win this game and at least two of the three in Carolina to give them a real shot before their home set with the Stars. Chicago is not playing good hockey at the moment as they have lost their last three games in a row and 14 of their last 22.
Scoring in the loss was Adam Gaudette, which was his 5th of the year, Vinnie Hinostroza, which was his 3rd, and Alex DeBrincat, which was his 24th. Absorbing the loss was Kevin Lankinen, who allowed four goals on 39 shot attempts to fall to 16-18 with a 2.97 GAA on the year, including 10-9 with a 2.88 GAA here at the United Center. This is his first year in the league, and Lankinen has gone 2-4 with a 3.14 GAA against the Panthers.
Team Stats & Rankings: Chicago enters this contest ranked 16th in scoring at 2.91 gpg, 19th in shots per game at 29.6, and 3rd in power-play conversions at 28.2%. At the defensive end of the ice, they are ranked 25th in goals allowed at 3.21 gpg, 31st in shots per game allowed at 33.9, and 30th in penalty kill at 71.3%.
- 43-17 in their last 60 vs. a team with a losing record
- 10-4 in their last 14 games as a road favorite
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Chicago is:
- 22-45 in their last 67 games playing on 1 days rest
- 15-36 in their last 51 vs. a team with a winning % above .600
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Blackhawks need this game in the worst way as they have three road games against Carolina on deck. Still, the Panthers also need this game as they are chasing Carolina for the top spot in the Central division. Florida is the better team and the motivation for each team cancels out. Florida has their offense going right now as they have averaged a solid 4.00 gpg over their last eight games and Kevin Lankinen has gone 2-4 with a 3.14 GAA against them this year. On the other side, we have Bobrovsky, who is 3-1 switch a 2.74 GAA against Chicago this year. The Blackhawks have lost three in a row and they will not end that skid here.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Florida offense comes in hot as they have averaged a solid 4.00 gpg over their last eight games and they will face a Chicago team that has allowed 3.80 gpg over their last 10 games. Chicago has also allowed 3.12 gpg at home this year, so I can see Florida easily topping the three-goal mark in this one. The Chicago offense has been no slouch at home where they have averaged 3.24 gpg and Sergei Bobrovsky has a 3.11 GAA on the road. Chicago should hit at least three goals in this one. We also note that the steams have averaged 6.57 gpg in their seven meetings this year. Lastly, the Over is 6-1-1 in Florida's last 8 overall and 6-1 in Chicago's last 7 games a home underdog.