Home Ice Edge & Desperation Play Key Factors in Tonight's NHL Picks for Lightning vs. Panthers

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, April 4, 2015 2:08 PM GMT

Our resident NHL handicapper takes a look at Saturday’s game between Tampa Bay and Florida in his daily quest of betting value. Join us in reading his revealing preview article on this contest which concludes with a money line selection.

NHL Battle between Sunshine State Teams
The Florida Panthers will entertain the Tampa Bay Light on Saturday at 7:05 PM ET, and they're currently favorites on the NHL betting odds. This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these Atlantic Division rivals. Tampa Bay has won two of the first three, and two of the three also went over the total.

Here are our three NHL hottests picks for tonight's matchups

Lightning Division Title Hopes still Alive
The Tampa Bay Lightning has dropped four of their last five games, and scored two goals or less in all but one of those contests. However, they haven’t lost any ground in their pursuit of an Atlantic Division first place finish, due to Montreal losing five of their previous six. They currently trail the Canadiens by two points, and each club has three games remaining in the regular season. Tonight will be the finale of a five game in eight day road trip for the Lightning.

 

Panthers Playoff hopes hanging by a Thread
The Florida Panthers trail the Boston Bruins by six points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and each team has four games left to play. Although the Panthers chances are slim at best, it must be noted that each of their remaining four games will be played at home. Contrarily the Bruins will finish the regular season with three straight on the road, and one of those will be against the Panthers. Needless to say, Florida must win out the rest of the way, and then hope for some help. The Panthers are coming off a decisive 6-1 home win over Carolina on Thursday. That win was their third straight, and fifth in the last six games at home.

This capper also previews tonight's game for Canucks/Jets

Final Analysis
It’s virtually a “do or die” game for the Florida Panthers the rest of the way. Despite the fact that making the postseason at this point is a long shot, home ice, and a high degree of urgency are the determining factors for me when making one of my NHL picks on Saturday.

NHL Pick:  Florida +105 on the money line over Tampa Bay at Bodog