Panthers, Canucks Will Stay True to Form and Keep Total 'Under'

Dana Lane

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:49 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 5:49 PM UTC

In the past 12 meetings between Florida and Vancouver, the "under" is 7-3-2. There's no reason to think anything different will happen when you make your NHL picks tonight.

Wednesday NHL: Panthers vs. CanucksFree NHL Pick: Under 5.5 (-110)Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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On Monday, I couldn’t have been more wrong. On Tuesday, I couldn’t have been more right when my followers crushed an "over" wager with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators. Tonight we’re going to extend the streak by staying north of the border, where the Florida Panthers face off against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Panthers beat the Canucks 3-1 last week in a game in which the total was never in doubt. Although I have contrarian tendencies, sometimes what you saw the first time will apply to the second. There were just 53 total shots in last week's matchup, about 11 less than what you would expect in a normal game. Panthers goaltender Harri Sateri made 26 saves on just 27 shots. I watched that game over again and didn’t see anything about the pace of play to inspire me to think tonight’s outcome will be different.

Even if we want to go back to when these teams met last season, we find that they managed three total goals.

Injuries have piled up for the Canucks. Markus Granlund will likely be out for the season after ankle surgery; Sam Gagner doesn’t have a return date as he also battles an injury to his ankle; and Brendan Gaunce is day-to-day with a foot injury.

I know the Canucks just got through scoring six times against Dallas on Sunday, but there are too many moving parts to expect that kind of effort every night. After all, the Canucks were ranked just 27th in offense (2.63) when completely healthy.

In similar fashion, Florida broke out against Edmonton on Monday for a 7-5 win, but the Panthers are an average offensive team at best . I’m sure when bettors see that both teams combined to score 13 goals in their previous games, money will come pouring in on the "over," giving us a good number on our "under" wager.

The bigger news in this one could come from the return of Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, who hasn’t played in more than two months because of a groin injury. Luongo led the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and led Canada to a gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“I feel good,” Luongo told Postmedia after a practice Tuesday in Vancouver. “Health-wise, I feel 100 percent, but it’s been a while since I’ve played and I’m trying to get up to speed as far as game shape, timing reads. Today (Tuesday) was just my third full practice, and it’s improving every day. But I feel I need a bit more to get to.”

Both teams return to form tonight, meaning with my NHL picks I think this one stays "under" the total posted on the NHL odds board.

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