NHL Hockey Betting: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers

Two teams trying to join the ‘lead pack’ of competitors in their respective divisions will go at it on Wednesday night as the Winnipeg Jets head to Miami to take on the Florida Panthers. Winnipeg is in a three way tie with Nashville and Dallas for the #4 spot in the Central Division and is coming in off a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. All three of the #4 teams in the Central have work to do to catch up with the front runners–they trail the third place St. Louis Blues by 6 points, the second place Minnesota Wild by 11 points and the first place Chicago Blackhawks by 12 points.

Florida, meanwhile, is in sixth place in the highly competitive Atlantic Division. They’re 3 points up on seventh place Detroit and 4 up on last place Buffalo. They’re two back of the teams tied for fourth and fifth, Tampa Bay and Toronto and 4 back of the two teams tied for second, Boston and Ottawa. They’re 12 back of Atlantic leading Montreal. The Panthers also were victorious in their previous game at Dallas. One difference–that was on New Years’ Eve meaning that the Panthers are well rested while the Jets are coming in to play the second of ‘back to back’ games.

Not only are the Panthers fresh but so is their starting goalie, Roberto Luongo, who has been confirmed for this game. Luongo is an absolute beast when he’s ‘on his game’ but he’s been somewhat ‘hit and miss’ so far this season. He’s got a record of 11-9-5 with a 2.42 goals against average and a 0.920 save percentage. That’s not bad, but not exactly dominating. He’ll be opposed by Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck who has taken over as the Jets’ starting goalie ahead of Michael Hutchinson while former starter OndÅ™ej Pavelec continues to languish with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

Very competitive matchup but the rest (or lack thereof) could be the difference here. Winnipeg hasn’t been much on the road this season (8-11-2) and have struggled against the Eastern Conference with a record of 6-12. We might be inclined to take a shot on the Jets were it not for the back to back spot.