NHL Hockey Betting: Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers

Interesting non-conference matchup at the top of Friday’s NHL betting board as the Nashville Predators make the trip down to Miami to take on the Florida Panthers. The Preds are likely glad to be away from cold and snowy Nashville for a few days but they do have business to tend to and on this short road trip which ends Sunday in Chicago it’s ‘so far so good’. Nashville ripped Tampa Bay 6-1 last night and now has their sights set on running down the third place St. Louis Blues. Currently, Nashville and Winnipeg are tied for fourth in the Central Division just four points behind St. Louis. For now, Minnesota (11 points ahead) and Chicago (12 points ahead) are out of reach but if the Predators can establish some consistency–something they’ve lacked for most of the season–they can start to cut into these margins as well. Nashville has taken points in 7 of their last 10 games (4-3-3) though they need to improve their overtime play (7 OT losses this season).

Florida has also taken points in 7 of their last 10 (3-3-4) and they’ve been even worse in overtime this year with 8 OT losses. The Panthers were thumped 4-1 on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday and now only have one win in their last six. Florida has a slew of injuries at the center position with Seth Griffin and Aleksander Barkov both out for this game. They were already without Jonathan Huberdeau who’ll miss much of the regular season with an achilles tendon injury. Nashville is without star defenseman P.K. Subban and will be without James Neal for tonight’s game with what is being described as an ‘upper body injury’.

Pekka Rinne played lat night’s game at Tampa and although no official word has come from the team that means there’s a good chance that Nashville will go with backup Juuse Saros in net. The 21 year old Saros is yet another from the bumper crop of awesome goalies coming out of Finland has been very solid this year and could be the ‘heir apparent’ to Pekka Rinne. Saros has started 6 games with a 3-2-1 record and has a 1.16 goals against average, a .957 save percentage and 1 shutout. Florida will most likely go with Roberto Luongo here.

The Predators are one of the most maddeningly erratic teams in hockey but if the ‘good Preds’ show up they could get another win here.