Expect Offensive Fireworks
The playoff push continues for the Florida Panthers, who got a key overtime win over Toronto on Wednesday. The Panthers are now one point behind Pittsburgh for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Now comes a matchup against a Montreal team that has been eliminated from playoff consideration.
It’s been a bit of an all-or-nothing scenario for Florida in March, with a pair of three-game winning streaks and a four-game losing streak. The Panthers are 2-5-3 in the second game when playing on back-to-backs, so keep that in mind when making NHL picks.
Montreal lost its first seven games played in March before splitting the last eight.
When looking at some of the NHL news, Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is questionable for the Panthers, while forwards Sam Bennett, Patric Hornqvist and goalie Spencer Knight are out.
For Montreal, forward Kirby Dach is questionable after missing the last game with an upper-body injury. Forwards Paul Byron, Sean Monahan and Juraj Slafkovsky are out indefinitely.
According to the NHL playoff odds, the Panthers (+5000) are tied for 15th odds to win the Stanley Cup title. Montreal is one of the two Eastern Conference teams eliminated from playoff contention.
Montour Delivers Again
Florida came into the season viewed as one of the contenders to represent the Eastern Conference in the postseason but has spent most of the season outside the playoff structure.
The list of underachieving players on the roster is a long one, but veteran defenseman Brandon Montour can’t be included in that group. Montour’s previous career-high for points in his first six NHL seasons was 37, established last season.
So @MontourBrandon now has:
-The most points in a season by a @FlaPanthers defenseman
-The most game-winning goals in a season by a @FlaPanthers defenseman
-Become the second @FlaPanthers defenseman with multiple OT goals in a season
This man deserves some appreciation. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/xlg2LdC9fs
— NHL (@NHL) March 30, 2023
Montour is at 63 points and counting. He is also providing a physical presence. There was a time in the NHL when some top-scoring defensemen knew their way to the penalty box. However, with his next penalty, he will become the first defenseman with at least 60 points and 100 penalty minutes since Dion Phaneuf accomplished that feat during the 2007-08 season.
The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in seven of Florida’s last 10 games.
Nick Suzuki deserves some sort of award for somehow managing to play every game this season while so many of the other key players for the Montreal Canadiens have missed time.
Suzuki, who leads Montreal with 61 points, is the only player on his team to appear in all 75 games.
Forwards Cole Caufield, Josh Anderson and Christian Dvorak are out for the season, so they will miss a combined total of 67 games. Kirby Dach, Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Drouin, Sean Monahan, Brendan Gallagher, Jake Evans, Evgenii Dadonov, Joel Armia and Juraj Slafkovsky have missed another 241, so it is hardly surprising that only eight teams have scored fewer goals this season than the Canadiens.
The good news is that Rafael Harvey-Pinard (six goals), Denis Gurianov (five goals in 16 games since being acquired from Dallas), Alex Belize (five goals) and Jesse Ylonen (four goals) have capitalized on more playing time.
The NHL betting lines total has gone over in nine of Montreal’s last 12 home games.
Panthers vs Canadiens Game Injuries
Panthers vs Canadiens Head-to-Head
Florida has won seven of the last eight meetings with Montreal. The Panthers won the first two matchups this season, outscoring Montreal 15-7. Matthew Tkachuk has five goals and four assists, while Aleksander Barkov has three goals and six assists.
Montreal’s last win was a 10-2 victory at home on April 2022.
Each of the last seven meetings finished over the total, with eight of the previous nine matchups being decided by three goals or more.
Panthers vs Canadiens Game Information
- Game: Panthers (37-31-7) vs Canadiens (30-39-6)
- Location: Bell Centre, Montreal
- Day/Time: Thursday, March 30, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Panthers vs Canadiens Live Stream: NHL.TV
Panthers vs Canadiens Betting Lines
Panthers vs Canadiens Picks and Prediction
This is the start of a five-game stretch against easier teams for Florida before they finish the regular reason against Toronto and Carolina, so it is now or never for the Panthers. It would be rather risky to go into those final two games needing points to secure a spot in the postseason.
There have been 31 goals scored in the first three meetings between Florida and Montreal, so perhaps more offensive fireworks are coming. The teams have gone 11-for-28 on the power play in those matchups.
Florida has covered in just 15 of its 38 road games, while Montreal is 19-17 against the spread on home ice.
The Panthers are 29-27-4 when listed by the sportsbook as the favorite. Montreal is 26-41-6 as the underdog. The Canadiens have been favored in just one of their last 21 games,
The Florida Panthers are listed at -220 in our Las Vegas hockey odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Panthers, you have a chance to win $45. Montreal is +180, offering a chance to win $180 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Florida Panthers a 68.75% chance to win, with the Montreal Canadiens at 35.71%.