Panthers, Wild Surging
We’ve got a treat, hockey fans. The Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild meet for the second and what could be the final time this season. These are two of the hottest teams in the league right now with both having won 11 of their last 14 games. The NHL odds have this almost as a pick’em but Florida is ever so slightly the favorite.
Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild Game Information
- Game: Florida Panthers (33-10-5) at Minnesota Wild (30-12-3)
- Location: Xcel Energy Center
- Day/Time: Friday, 9:35 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN+
Panthers Kings of Ice
The Florida Panthers outlasted the Carolina Hurricanes in what was one of the best games of the season. They proved they didn’t just have the skills to win, but also the grit and the defense. With the win, Florida seized the top spot in the Eastern Conference and has the second-best point percentage behind only the Colorado Avalanche.
SAM REINHART TIES IT FOR THE COMEBACK CATS pic.twitter.com/hXtTEb5K4j
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 17, 2022
More notably, Florida won away from home, where it has struggled all season. The Panthers are an NHL-best 23-3 at home but just 10-7-5 on the road. Florida also held Carolina, which averaged nearly 3.5 goals a game, to just a pair. It was just the second time in the last six games where Florida gave up fewer than three goals.
The two-week break may have been good for Florida, especially for Sergei Bobrovsky. He still wasn’t at his best but needed to make just 16 saves to get the W. Bobrovsky has been struggling lately, posting an 88.7 percent save percentage in his last five starts. But if the Panthers can continue playing sharp two-way hockey, they will be solid bets online despite this.
Wild Beating Everyone Not From Winnipeg
On the flip side, the Minnesota Wild lost for the second time in only 10 games — both to the Winnipeg Jets. The Wild were shut out on Feb. 8 by the Jets and gave up six goals in Wednesday’s rematch. .Other than those games, the WIld have been immaculate.
Since losing the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, Minnesota has gone 11-0-1 against teams other than Winnipeg. That one loss? It was against the Avalanche. Minnesota has beaten teams like Washington, the New York Rangers and Carolina in this stretch.
Minnesota is +7.9 units on the moneyline and has a sterling record on home ice. At 16-3-1, the Wild’s 82.5 point percent at home is third behind only Florida and Colorado. No one considers this team a fluke anymore.
Panthers at Wild Head-to-Head
These teams do not regularly meet. The Florida Panthers are 3-1-0 in their last four games against the Minnesota Wild. They have won the last two, including their only game this season: a 5-4 win in Florida.
Panthers at Wild Prediction
The Florida Panthers may have had the edge lately, but the Minnesota Wild have won seven of their last eight home games against Florida. Of course, all of these games came against a Panthers team that was not as good as the one currently visiting.
Florida struggles on the road despite its gutsy win over Carolina while Minnesota is so good at home. If the Wild have a weak link, it would be Cam Talbot in net. The 34-year-old is 9-2-1 at home but is allowing three goals on average with a 90.4 save percentage. Fortunately for the Wild, the Panthers’ netminders are no better.
Despite the defensive showing from Florida, we like Minnesota to outlast the Panthers in a scoring-heavy affair on the sportsbook.