NHL Hockey Betting: Florida Panthers at New York Islanders

NHL Hockey Betting:  Florida Panthers at New York Islanders

The New York Islanders entered the 2016-2017 season with a lot of enthusiasm and an expectation that they could compete in the Metropolitan Division after putting up a 100 point season last year. Instead, they’ve sunk like a stone to the bottom of the division and actually have the worst record in the Eastern Conference entering tonight’s home game against last season’s playoff rivals, the Florida Panthers. The Panthers are ‘treading water’ this season though in reality they’ve only got 4 more points that the Islanders. The Panthers are tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Division but the problem is a) they’ve got plenty of company and b) there are ‘mid range’ teams in the East that are better than they are. Were the season to end today they’d be four points out of a wildcard spot. The Islanders have lost 2 straight but are a respectable 4-3-3 in their last 10 games. The Panthers are also 4-3-3 in their last ten.

Florida will go with their veteran superstar Roberto Luongo who is playing some of the best hockey of his career. His win/loss record could be better but he’s not always received the support he needs from the rest of the team. Luongo is 12-10-5 with a 2.39 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage. He’ll be opposed by Thomas Greiss who hasn’t played poorly though might be better suited to being a #2 goalie. Greiss has a record of 9-5-2 with a 2.31 goals against average and a 0.927 save percentage.

The Islanders do have a better offense than Florida. The Panthers are #27 in the NHL in goals scored per game (2.26) while the Islanders are a reasonable 2.76 per game which puts them at #12. On the other hand, the Panthers have the superior defense–they’re #10 in goals against per game (2.57) while the Islanders are tied for #26 allowing 3.00 per contest. Islanders’ special teams aren’t much (25th power play, 22nd penalty kill) and while Florida’s power play is just as bad (#24, 15.0%) they have the #5 penalty kill in the league.

Very evenly matched series with the Panthers winning the only game so far this season (3-2 at home on 11/12/16). They’ve split the last 6 games on the Islanders home ice and Florida holds a narrow 7-6 lead in the last 13 games overall. Looks like an even matchup so we’ll take the price with the road team.