NHL Free Picks on Low-scoring Penguins vs. Panthers Clash

Ross Benjamin

Monday, December 22, 2014 7:10 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 7:10 PM GMT

We’ll be examining the total in the NHL game between Pittsburgh and Florida on Monday. Take the time to read this insightful NHL betting preview article which culminates with a selection on the total.

Penguins in South Florida
The Florida Panthers will entertain the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday with the opening faceoff slated for 7:35 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at Pinnacle, Pittsburgh is a -150 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. These teams just faced each other on Saturday in Pittsburgh, and the Penguins skated away with a 3-1 win. Florida won two of their three meetings versus Pittsburgh a season ago, and all three of those contests went over the total.

 

Two Red-Hot Goaltenders
The listed probable starting goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight is Marc-Andre Fleury. He’s off to a terrific start to the season, and has been sensational over his last 4-starts. During that time, Fleury has gone 4-0 with an off the charts .970 save percentage. The highly scrutinized Penguins goaltender has gone an outstanding 19-6 in 25-starts this season with an excellent .933 save percentage, and has posted five shutouts.

In all likelihood we’ll see Roberto Luongo between the pipes for the Florida Panthers this evening. Luongo has been rejuvenated since returning to the franchise (Florida) that originally drafted him. Luongo has seen just 7 of his first 25-starts (28%) on the year go over the total. He’s been a key contributor to those low scoring games by compiling a stellar .925 save percentage. Luongo hasn’t seen any of his previous four starts go over the total while he posted a terrific .939 save percentage in those contests.

 

A Scary Team
There’s no hiding the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the more explosive scoring teams in the NHL. After all, this is a team that’s averaging 3.2 goals per game, and possesses Sidney Crosby who’s arguably the most dynamic offensive player in the world. However, what’s flown under the radar has been the Penguins ability to defensively shut down their opponents this season. They’re allowing just 2.2 goals per contest. If they continue to receive excellent goaltending, and play solid in their own zone, the Penguins will be an extremely difficult team to beat from here on out.

 

Overachieving Team in the East
Although the Florida Panthers 14-17 money line record on the season isn’t very impressive. It must be noted, 8 of their 17-losses came by way of overtime, and as a result has earned them an additional 8-points in the standings. Currently Florida is just 2-points behind the Washington Capitals for the final wild card position in the Eastern Conference. Granted it’s a bit early to speak about possible playoff scenarios. The point of the matter is that the Panthers have exceeded expectations thus far.

 

Final Analysis
Florida has gone under the total in their previous 3-games, and scored 2-goals or less in each of those contests. The Panthers have gone under the total in 8 of 10 this season, after scoring 2-goals or less in each of their previous two games. The Penguins have allowed just 3-goals combined during their previous three games. Pittsburgh has seen 7 of their last 10 overall stay under the total. I’m looking for a low scoring hard fought game, and will be wagering accordingly for one of my NHL picks today.

Free NHL pick: Penguins/Panthers to go under the total of 5.0 at 5Dimes

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