Florida Panthers vs. Minnesota Wild Matchup

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Facing each other for the final time this season, the Florida Panthers and the Minnesota Wild clash at the Xcel Energy Center in an East-West showdown. The opening face-off is at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, January 2, and fans at home are able to see it live on Fox Sports North.

Florida Panthers vs. Minnesota Wild Odds

Minnesota (-135) is currently favored over Florida (+115), and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals. The odds for betting the total stand at -125 for the under and +105 for the over.

Producing 1.6 units for moneyline bettors, Minnesota is 20-19 straight up (SU) overall thus far. That early-season winning percentage is a regression from the 49-33 record that the team managed during the 2016-17 season campaign. Of the teams 39 games this season, 20 have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under and just two have pushed. The teams 12-6 SU at home this season.

The Wild have converted on 19.2 percent of their power play chances this season, a figure that’s right around league average. On the other hand, their penalty kill is rated seventh overall, and they’ve successfully killed off 83.7 percent of all penalties.

As a team, the Wild have been penalized 4.3 times per game overall this season, 4.6 per game over their last five games total, and 4.4 per game over their last five at home. The team has had to kill penalties for 9.4 minutes per contest over their last five home games.

Sporting a .918 save percentage and 28.4 saves per game, Devan Dubnyk (14-10-2) has been the primary option in goal for Minnesota this season. If Minnesota decides to give him the night off, however, head coach Bruce Boudreau could go with Alex Stalock (7-10-10 record, .916 save percentage, 2.67 goals against average).

Eric Staal and Jason Zucker will both lead the way for the Wild. Staal (33 points) has tallied 15 goals and 18 assists and has recorded multiple points eight times this year. Zucker has 15 goals and 12 assists to his credit and has notched at least one point in 19 contests.

On the other side of the ice, Florida is 17-21 straight up (SU) and has lost 4.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 38 regular season outings, 20 of its games have gone under the total, while 18 have gone over and none have pushed. The Panthers are 7-12 SU as the visiting team this season.

The Panthers have converted on just 15.8 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a figure that places them in the bottom-10 overall among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 14th overall and it’s successfully defended 81.3 percent of all penalties.

Florida’s skaters have been penalized 4.3 times per game this season, 4.0 per game over their past five games total, and 4.8 per game over their last five games as the visiting team. The team has been forced to kill penalties 11.4 minutes per game over their last five road outings.

James Reimer (.913 save percentage and 2.96 goals against average) has been the primary option in goal for Florida. Reimer is averaging 28.6 saves per game and has 11 wins, 14 losses, and four overtime losses to his credit.

Vincent Trocheck (15 goals, 21 assists) and Jonathan Huberdeau (13 goals, 23 assists) have been standout playmakers for Florida and will lead the attack for the visiting Panthers.

Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Wild, O/U – Over

Betting Trends

  • Minnesota is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Florida is 2-2 in shootouts.
  • The total has gone over 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 games.