NHL Hockey Betting: Florida Panthers at Calgary Flames

NHL Hockey Betting:  Florida Panthers at Calgary Flames&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Florida Panthers saw their 12 game winning streak end in Vancouver on Monday night and they’ll try to begin a ‘second act’ on Wednesday night as they take on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Panthers definitely ‘went down fighting’ against the Canucks, forging a tie at the end of regulation only to see Vancouver win in overtime. The huge question now is how they respond. When the Washington Capitals had a long winning streak broken on New Years Eve they went on to lose the next game before starting another winning streak that stands at four games. Of course the Capitals are (arguably) the best team in the NHL while Florida is just now becoming a competitive group.

The Panthers will be without star defenseman Aaron Ekblad here–he missed Monday’s loss to Vancouver (another asterisk to put on that game) and was expected to be re-evaluated on Tuesday. The team hasn’t made the results of that ‘re-evaluation’ public but Ekblad wasn’t on the ice for the morning skate which suggests that he won’t be playing here. Also absent will be head coach Gerard Gallant who has returned to Florida to attend his mother’s funeral. The Panthers will be coached in this game by assistant Mike Kelly–this is another situation that can go either way. There’s a lot of veteran leadership on the Panthers including Willie Mitchell, Roberto Luongo and force of nature Jaromir Jagr. That bodes well for Florida avoiding a post streak letdown.

Florida shouldn’t have trouble finding the net–the Flames have the second worst team goals against average in the league allowing 3.12 goals per contest. They’ve tightened things up since the beginning of the year but they’re still substandard in their end of the ice. The Flames are a respectable 11th in shots allowed per game (29.0) so their poor goals against performance is all on the goalies. Kari Ramo has been starting most of their games in goal but Jonas Hiller will get the call tonight–he hasn’t started since December 13.

The emotional state of the Panthers is a question mark but I’d rather have them with Luongo in net than the Flames with Hiller.


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