Ducks Will Be Too Much For Visiting Panthers To Handle

Dana Lane

Friday, February 17, 2017 4:33 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 4:33 PM UTC

The Panthers have a history of failing to beat good teams on the road. Will tonight's matchup in Anaheim be different or will history repeat itself? NHL handicapper Dana Lane has the answer. 

2016-17 NHL Record: 64-49 (+19.46 Units)

If the Florida Panthers are to make the playoffs, they'll have to go through the Western Conference (in a way) to get there. So far, so good as the Panthers have won three of their last four against the West, including a 6-5 overtime victory over San Jose on Wednesday. The Panthers are just three points out of the Eastern Conference's last wild-card spot after they've won five of their last six games.

Although the Panthers have scored 13 goals in their last two games, let's not let two games get in the way of changing what the Panthers have been all season.  They are still ranked 24th in the league with just 2.49 goals per game, but that's not good news against one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Panthers are just 11-17 on the road on NHL odds.

There is a question of how healthy Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo is after leaving the Sharks game with cramps.  He is expected to start but let's not assume that we're getting a 100% Luongo until we've seen him play. Even at full strength, Luongo is just 15-20 with a 2.55 goals against average.  On the road, his numbers get worse with a 6-11 record and a 2.73 goals against.

On the other side of the ice, the Ducks have something to play for too as they trail the Sharks by four points in the Pacific Division. 

The Ducks will be without Antoine Vermette for the next 10 games after tapping a linesman with his stick intentionally. It isn't the only reason, but the Ducks not having their top faceoff man has driven early bettors to back the Panthers, which is more than fine with me because it moves the number in our favor. Nick Ritchie will most likely move up into Vermette's spot on the first line.

Defensemen Sami Vatanen could be back for the Ducks after missing the last five games with a knee injury. Coach Randy Carlyle said Vatanen will be a game-time decision. The home team has won five of the last seven games in this series.

NHL Free Pick: Ducks -132Best Line Offered: BetDSI

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