With three games remaining in the regular season, the Florida Panthers still have a shot to claim the division title in the Central Division.
Now in third place in the division standings, Florida (34-14-5) is tied with defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay for second place, but are just two points behind division-leading Carolina. With a shot to finish first, the Panthers will look to stay hot when they host the struggling Dallas Stars (21-17-13) on Monday night.
Florida is the solid home favorite against a Dallas team that still has its own playoff hopes. The Stars are in fifth place in the Central standings, but just three points behind Nashville with five games to play. The NHL Odds for this matchup are live in the BetUS Online Sportsbook right now.
Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers
When: Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL
TV: BSFL, BSSW+
Dallas +1½ (-220)
Florida -1½ (+180)
Stars Desperate to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
Dallas has lost three straight and four of five but is only three points behind Nashville for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Central Division. The Stars have suffered consecutive shutout losses, including a crushing 1-0 overtime defeat at the hands of Nashville on Saturday. Anton Khudobin made 33 saves, but the Stars couldn’t get their offense in gear. Dallas has scored a grand total of one goal over its last three games.
“We played our hearts out,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “We did. We did. We didn’t give up much, and obviously we didn’t score, and we need to score. But in terms of the effort and the commitment to the team, 100 percent satisfied.”
The Stars average 2.7 goals per game (20th) on 30.0 shots per contest (11th). Defensively, Dallas allows 2.5 goals per game (seventh) on 27.1 shots allowed per contest (second). Joe Pavelski has a team-high 21 goals while John Klingberg has a team-high 25 assists.
Panthers Lighting Lamp Like Crazy
Florida has won three straight, four of five and seven of nine overall. The Panthers have been lighting the lamp very nicely in recent games by scoring at least four goals in each of their last seven victories. Florida got past Chicago in a 5-4 thriller on Saturday.
Anthony Duclair had two goals and an assist to lead the way. Aleksander Barkov scored his team-leading 25th goal and had an assist. Nikita Gusev and Owen Tippett added goals.
“Things are clicking right now, not only for me, but the whole team,” Duclair said. “I guess the puck is just finding me.”
Florida averages a healthy 3.3 goals (seventh) on a league-leading 34.8 shots per contest. Defensively, the Panthers allow 2.8 goals per game (13th) on 30.1 shot attempts per contest (16th). Barkov leads Florida with a team-high 25 goals while Jonathan Huberdeau has recorded a team-high 40 assists.
Dallas D Key to Puck Line Cover
Dallas is definitely offensively challenged, but the Stars have been rock-solid defensively all season and I believe they’ll cover the Puck Line because of their stingy defense.
Florida has won four of the last five meetings, but three of those wins were decided by a lone goal, including a 3-2 overtime win on April 13 in their last matchup.
The Stars are 4-1 in their last five games after allowing two goals or fewer in their previous game. While Florida has a ton to play for, so does Dallas. Despite their season-long struggles, I’m going with the Stars to cover the puck line in a one-goal loss.