Panthers to Shake Doldrums by Beating Stars

panthers stars

Dana Lane

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:22 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 5:22 PM UTC

Count on the Florida Panthers to stop their losing ways as they host the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. on Tuesday night with a puck drop at 7:30 ET.

Free NHL Pick: Panthers -120Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers

There is little who the public is on in this one as the opening number of the Panthers -125 has fallen to -120 in most spots. It does appear as if there is starting to be some Panther money, so get it now. Still, over 55% of all tickets written have the Stars' name on it by both professionals and the general public.

I suppose I can see the rationale behind it, as most anticipate a bounce-back effort from the Stars after 5-1 loss Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes; after all, the Stars are 35-17 after losing the previous game by three goals or more. They’ve also have beaten the Panthers five of the last six meetings in Florida. Everything seems to point to Dallas. Perfect, because that’s the exact opposite of what we’re going to do.

At 9-8-1, the Stars aren’t even close to where the prognosticators had envisioned, and I anticipate that this is weighing on the team, especially with a head coach like Ken Hitchcock whose message has been known to get old. I can only imagine his mood right now after his team seems to show up every other game -- no, that doesn’t mean bet them tonight.

Dallas will most likely start Kari Lehtonen between the pipes, and if you want to back Lehtonen with his 2.71 lifetime goals against average be my guest. His road save percentage is barely over 90%, true, Lehtonen has played better this season than his horrific 2016-17 year in Dallas, but I need more than five games to back him with my money.

Before Monday's game, Hitchcock stated that he wants his team to play better on the road. I’m sure allowing the Hurricanes to score four times in the third period to put the game away wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, but it does tell me a little on how the Stars will respond when Hitch cracks the whip. The problem with calling your team out is if it don’t respond then there isn’t much to go to. That’s where the Stars are now.

This lack of response by his team might go even deeper than playing well on the road. Hitchcock recently mixed up his lines in an effort to create balance. Instead of the line of Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, which is as good as any in the league, we’ll see Seguin on the second line with Gemel Smith moving up to play with Benn and Radulov. So far, I don’t think Hitchcock is getting the desired result from his line changes.

True, the Panthers aren’t exactly lighting it up, but I suspect the team is in a better state of mind after two recent 60-minute efforts against the Sabres and Devils.

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