Minnesota Wild (11-8-0) at Florida Panthers (7-5-6)
|Date & Time||Monday November 24, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Florida Panthers +123 / Minnesota Wild -135 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Minnesota Wild look to shake off a loss in their last outing as they head into Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers on Monday night.
The Wild were one of the best teams in hockey to start the season and were playing like a team destined to make a push into the upper echelon of talented teams in the Western Conference but a recent 5-5 stretch and a lackluster resume on the road has them in fifth place in the Central division. Minnesota does however possess a very strong blue line and a well balanced offense that is all complimented by Darcy Kuemper between the pipes as he continues to settle in to his first year as the team's starter so there is a lot of optimism in Minnesota with big expectations for this season. The Wild were a playoff team a year ago and upended the Colorado Avalanche in the first round before ultimately getting bounced in the second round and as such the team's expectations are to at least return to that juncture but in all likelihood have their sights set on the West finals and the Stanley Cup. Kuemper will get the start here as he will go up against Roberto Luongo.
The Panthers meanwhile have flown under the radar so far this season as many expected them to finish at or near the bottom of the league standings but through 18 games they are 7-5-6 and are just two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Cats selected first overall in last year's draft and landed franchise defenseman Aaron Ekblad to add to an already impressive young core that will certainly be the future of the team whether they stay in Florida or not and there is a lot to be excited about. Florida landed some security between the pipes as they traded for Roberto Luongo at the end of last season and while the chances of making the playoffs this season are quite slim the team certainly will be fun to watch as a lot of their young players will be continue to be impact players this season and I think they are going to be a tough out for a lot of teams. The Wild have struggled on the road yet they are the favourite here but I think the Panthers deserve a little more love than they are getting as personally I think they match up well against Minnesota and defensively they should be able to neutralize the Minnesota attack. Take a chance here with the Panthers.