Minnesota at Florida Lines, Betting Pick & TV Info
When: Friday, March 10, 7:30 PM ET
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.
TV: FSN, FSFL
Opening NHL Lines: Wild favored by TBA
Why Bet on Minnesota?This will be the second of a back-to- back for Minnesota as it was to begin a five-game road trip Thursday at Tampa Bay. The Wild’s Devan Dubnyk is the Vezina Trophy favorite. Dubnyk allowed two goals on 20 shots in Minnesota’s 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Dubnyk has dropped two of his last three games, but he’s given up two goals or less in each of those games. He has a 35-13- 3 record with a 2.01 goals-against- average and .933 save percentage.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wants to have more consistency with his forward lines. When facing the Blues, Boudreau was forced to mix up his lines during the game to try and spark some offense from his team. He even went so far as to break up the Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Mikael Granlund line that has been tremendous most of the season.
Boudreau said he knew quickly that things weren’t right Tuesday, starting with his go-to line: “I would have broken them up at about the five-minute mark of the first period,” he said of the trio, which he did separate in the second period. “But I figured I’d let them try to play their way out of it. I just didn’t think they were very good tonight, certain individuals on the line.”
Boudreau replaced Zucker with Nino Niederreiter and tinkered with other lines as well, trying to find combinations that would shake the Wild out of a dull effort. Nothing clicked, leaving the Wild with a one-goal loss despite a 33-20 advantage in shots.
After scoring 11 goals in their first two games after a five-day break, the Wild have four in its past three games, including one on an empty net. To get back to its high-scoring ways, Jason Pominville said the team must renew its commitment to get to the net.
Wild defenseman Christian Folin will be out of action for at least three weeks due to an upper-body injury. He appeared to suffer an injury to his right arm or wrist on Sunday against San Jose. He has two goals and five assists this year.
Why Bet on Florida?Florida is battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but it’s not looking good. It has lost three straight and six of seven following a 5-2 home loss to the Rangers on Tuesday. Scoring has been a major problem for the Panthers all season.
Thomas Vanek scored his first goal as a Florida Panther on Tuesday. Vanek finished the game with a minus-2 rating, three shots on goal and two hits in 15:01 of ice time. He has 16 goals and 39 points in 51 games this season. Vanek was acquired at the tread deadline from Detroit.
Aaron Ekblad potted his 10th goal of the season in Tuesday’s loss. He cashed on a Panthers’ power play with 3:26 remaining in the third period. Ekblad has struggled this season with 21 points in 65 games, but he still managed to hit double digits in goals for a third straight year. Vincent Trocheck collected a pair of assists. to give him 45 points in 65 games.
James Reimer was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots vs. New York. The Panthers goalie has been ice-cold of late, as he’s now dropped five straight decisions. He has a 12-10- 5 record with a 2.52 goals-against- average and a .919 save percentage. Reto Berra entered the game in relief of Reimer and he stopped all eight shots he faced.
Panthers coach Tom Rowe has told his players that the only way to reach the playoffs was to start scoring even-strength goals and be more responsible on defense. He has called out his top line, especially 45-year- old Jaromir Jagr, to be the team’s, “best players.’’ Rowe did express confidence in his goaltending tandem of Reimer and recent AHL call-up Berra, now that Roberto Luongo is on the injury shelf for another week.
Florida lost in Minnesota 5-1 back on Dec. 13. Dubnyk made 29 saves and five players scored a goal each. Luongo’s regrettable history in Minnesota continued as he stopped 12 of 17 shots before being pulled midway through the third period. Luongo is 0-7 and has been pulled in four of his last seven games at the Xcel Energy Center. Reimer stopped all five shots he faced in relief of Luongo.
Minnesota at Florida Betting Pick:
I expect Dubnyk will play Thursday and not Friday so the Panthers might be smart underdog value despite their struggles.