NHL Picks: Panthers Looking To Secure Last Playoff Spot In Ottawa

Dana Lane

Thursday, March 10, 2016 2:12 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 10, 2016 2:12 PM UTC

The Senators are 5 points out of the last playoff spot, but could be back at the NHL odds boards with a victory over the Panthers, therefore getting the last sport for the playoffs.

Panthers Preview
We have talked about this before on our videos, the Florida Panthers need to find some offense other than relying on their 44 year-old superstar, Jaromir Jagr. The Panthers are on a 1-3-2 stretch that saw the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning pass Florida in the standings. Their recent loss to the Bruins was a bad one in terms of standings, but they can take some positives. Boston held a 4-1 lead at one point only to see the Panthers crawl back to tie the game only to lose in overtime, 5-4. 

The Panthers may get that much needed help soon as Juri Hudler has finally found the score sheet with his first two goals since being acquired in a trade from Calgary before the deadline. Jonathan Huberdeau has returned from a six-game absence after a lower body injury two earn two assist. The Panthers had a season high 51 shots against Florida; Jagr accounted for none of the 51 shots.  The way Florida played against Boston indicates that they may be ready for another run at the top of the Atlantic, especially since the team has been counted from the beginning as one of the top contenders for the payoffs.


Senators Sneak Peek
Ottawa sits just five points out of first place but more importantly they have two games in hand over the Detroit Redwings. Unlike Florida, their last game was a crushing defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes who tied it up with less than a second and won it in a shootout. Those types of losses can devastate a team. 

Goaltender, Craig Anderson, is expected back for the Sens after sustaining a knee injury March 1st against St. Louis. He may give them a lift, but his 2.81 goals against average is way too high and his .917 save percentage is too low. Besides, I can't back key players coming back, especially from a knee injury, until I see that they are 100% ready again. Anderson has allowed six goals in three meetings with the Panthers this season; he said that nothing will make the injury worse. Sounds like a guy who still has some pain but can play with it. Ottawa did not take line rushes during Wednesday's practice. 


Final Overview
The Panthers will receive more help if everything goes to plan. Defensemen, Willie Mitchell and Derek MacKenzie are going to be in the line-up if everything goes well in morning skate. Mitchell will bring tremendous size (6-3, 210) along with a decent shot from the point and MacKenzie returns with his veteran presence and ability to win face offs, an underrated statistic. This converts the Panthers' team in one of the NHL picks for today.

Going on the road has never been a safe bet in NHL odds boards for Ottawa, as they are just 6-15. The Panthers are 35-17 at home against teams with a losing road record in their last 52 attempts. 

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Free NHL Pick: Panthers -158
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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