In their final head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Florida Panthers and the Minnesota Wild clash at the Xcel Energy Center for an East-versus-West tilt. The opening face-off is at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 2, and fans at home are able to witness the game live on Fox Sports North.
Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild Odds
Minnesota (+115) is entering this one as the underdog to Minnesota (-135), and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals. The line for betting the total stands at -125 for the under and +105 for the over.
Losing 1.6 units for moneyline bettors, the Wild are 20-19 straight up (SU) overall this year. That early-season winning percentage is a regression from the 49-33 record that the team posted during the 2016-17 season campaign. Through 39 regular season contests, 20 of its games have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under and just two have pushed. The team is 12-6 SU at home this year.
Minnesota has converted on 19.2 percent of its power play chances this season, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked seventh overall, and it’s successfully killed off 83.7 percent of all penalties.
As a team, Minnesota has been penalized 4.3 times per game overall this season, 4.6 per game over its last five matchups total, and 4.4 per game over its last five at home. The team has had to kill penalties for 9.4 minutes per contest over its last five home games.
Averaging 28.4 saves per game with a .918 save percentage, Devan Dubnyk (14-10-2) has been the top goalkeeper for the Wild this year. If head coach Bruce Boudreau chooses to give him the evening off, however, the Wild might roll with Alex Stalock (7-10-10 record, .916 save percentage, 2.67 goals against average).
Eric Staal and Jason Zucker will each spearhead the attack for the Wild. Staal (33 points) is up to 15 goals and 18 assists and has recorded multiple points in eight different games this year. Zucker has 15 goals and 12 assists to his credit and has notched at least one point in 19 contests.
Florida is 17-21 straight up (SU) and has lost 4.4 units for moneyline bettors thus far. A total of 20 of its outings have gone under the total, while 18 have gone over and none have pushed. As an away team so far, Florida is 7-12 SU.
Florida has converted on just 15.8 percent of its power play chances this year, a mark that’s ranked 25th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 14th overall and it’s successfully defended 81.3 percent of all opponent power plays.
Florida’s skaters have been whistled for penalties 4.3 times per game this season, 4.0 per game over their last five outings total, and 4.8 per game over their last five on the road. The team has had to kill penalties 11.4 minutes per game over their last five road outings.
James Reimer (28.6 saves per game) has been the primary choice in the net for Florida. Reimer has 11 wins, 14 losses, and four overtime losses to his credit, while registering a .913 save percentage and 2.96 goals against average this year.
Vincent Trocheck (15 goals, 21 assists) and Jonathan Huberdeau (13 goals, 23 assists) have been standout playmakers for Florida and will pace the attack for the visiting Panthers.
Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild Free Picks
Predictions: SU Winner – Wild, O/U – Over
The over has hit in three of Minnesota’s last five outings.
Florida has attempted 34.2 shots per game overall this season (the second-most in the NHL), and 31.7 in its last 10 outings.
The Panthers are 5-11 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 7-13 when they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes.
Minnesota is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Florida is 2-2 in shootouts.
Minnesota is ranked 27th in the NHL with 6.1 takeaways per game. That figure has trended down, however, as it has created 5.5 takeaways over its last 10 games and 5.2 takeaways over its last five.
Florida has allowed 3.2 goals per game overall this year, but is giving up only 1.2 per contest over the team’s five-game winning streak.
Florida is ranked sixth in the NHL this season with 9.2 takeaways per game. That figure has trended higher recently, as the team has averaged 10.9 takeaways over its last 10 games and 12.6 takeaways over its last five.