Two of the National Hockey League’s “nearly” teams will go up against each other in this contest and plenty of punters will be hoping for a high scoring game. Neither organisation is renowned for its defensive stability and that could mean an entertaining affair for neutrals – goals could be on the cards.
The Florida Panthers are currently sixth in the Atlantic Division and Florida supporters will be hoping for an improved effort in the second half of the season. Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue but keeping goals out has been a huge problem – the Panthers have conceded 117 in just 34 NHL matches.
Meanwhile, Ottawa, a distant 70/1 for the Stanley Cup with Bet365, have also struggled to inspire confidence; the Senators are seventh in the Atlantic. The Canadian side have scored 92 goals this year whilst conceding 113 – a poor return. Ottawa are in real need of a confidence boosting victory and that looks likely this weekend.
Florida Should Prepare For Intense Second Half Of Season
If the Panthers are intent on reaching the playoffs, they need to get a move on. Preparing for a very intense, aggressive second half of the season might be the right way to go about things. Derek MacKenzie is under pressure but a shift in lines for Florida could make all the difference.
Building momentum as we enter the business stage of the campaign is an absolute must for any franchise looking to compete and Florida do NOT have time on their hands. Crunch time is fast approaching for the Panthers organisation and wholesale changes could be on the cards at the end of the year if they fail to reach the playoffs.
DANGER MAN: Vincent Trocheck. Trocheck has recorded 34 points in 34 appearances so far this year – an excellent return. 13 goals and 21 assists represents a solid effort, especially considering how Florida have struggled throughout the season.
With four points in his last five outings, Trocheck is in decent form as we approach the brief festive break. Florida will be expecting more of the same from their star man in the second half of the campaign. Watch this space…
Struggling Senators Need Some Help
Ottawa have now lost seven of their last nine NHL games and another defeat beckons this weekend ahead of the Christmas break. The Senators almost look like they are already in rest mode and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Panthers run wild on home ice here – it could be the perfect way for the hosts to bow out before Christmas.
DANGER MAN: Erik Karlsson. A real talent on a roster that is lacking star quality, Karlsson is the best player in the squad. The Ottawa man has racked up 23 points so far this season – an impressive feat considering his position. 20 of those points are from assists and he could be the creative genius again for the Senators.
You could even argue that Karlsson is the defenseman in the NHL. If Ottawa are intent on getting back to their brilliant best, they must provide support and talent around Karlsson – otherwise the playoffs will be nothing but a distant dream.
Another win for Florida looks likely here – could be a close contest but the hosts have the potential to push on and rack up plenty of goals. Ottawa are up there with the worst teams in the league on current form and it would be foolish to back the Canadian side here. Look no further than a Florida Panthers victory ahead of the festive period.
PANTHERS 4-1 SENATORS