Florida Panthers (11-8-7) at Detroit Red Wings (17-6-6)
|Date & Time||Friday December 12, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Detroit Red Wings -200 / Florida Panthers +170 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Red Wings look to recover after a shootout loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday as they host the Panthers at the Joe on Friday night.
The Panthers head into the Motor City looking to play spoiler as they take on the Red Wings at the Joe before leaving for Buffalo for a date with the Sabres on Saturday. The Panthers have been one of those teams that has completely flown under the radar this season as they don't have the market and attention that other teams get but they are quietly sitting three agmes above .500 and are just two points back of the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic division. Roberto Luongo is back in Florida for his first full season since getting dealt to the Cats from vancouver last year and he has had a great run at it so far this season and has been the team's early season MVP. Florida has a lot of young talent that will certainly be the core of their team moving forward but I have a feeling they will be close to a playoff spot this season which may ruin their long term plan of possibly grabbing another top end talent in the draft but I think they'd be more than happy to do so if it meant securing a playoff spot.
The Red Wings meanwhile are sitting atop the Atlantic division by a single point on the Tampa Bay Lightning thanks to their shootout loss to the Maple Leafs and with the second half of the home and home with the Buds slated for Saturday night you can bet they would love to get some momentum with a big win here. Detroit is a very funny team as many expected they would walk away with the East last year but ultimately flopped and now with expectations a little lower they overachieving in a sense and have the look of a playoff contender. Jimmy Howard has been silly in the Detroit crease this season and he will start here but I am very weary of the fact that Detroit will be focused on the Leafs game on Saturday giving us a perfect trap game scenario here. Florida is a scrappy bunch and I think defensively they can keep up with the Wings and I like them here as a huge dog.