New York Islanders (10-5-0) at Florida Panthers (5-4-4)
|Date & Time||Friday November 14, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Florida Panthers +120 / New York Islanders -132 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Islanders look to remain red hot as they seek their fifth straight win as they head into Florida to take on a Panthers team who is playing decent hockey themselves of late.
The New York Islanders have been on the cusp of breaking out as an NHL contender over the last couple of seasons and if the start to the season is any indication of this year's bunch it is safe to say to the Isles are here. The Long Island dwellers have long been league doormats and have been second fiddle to the Rangers over the last 15 years but it looks like the tide has turned at least for the time being and the Isles are looking really good at the moment with a core of young superstars and a balance of experienced vets and role players. The Isles need to avoid a let down spot here though as they head into Sunrise to take on the Panthers who are likely a year or two away from making their own run at turning things around but have been playing stingy hockey of late. Jaroslav Halak is expected to start for the Isles as he goes up against former New York and Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo.
The Panthers landed the first overall pick in last year's draft and selected franchise blue liner Aaron Ekblad with the selection and while the future is bright in Florida (whether the team remains there or not) I think they are still a couple of years away from seriously contending in the Eastern Conference. Roberto Luongo got himself away from the drama in Vancouver and is back in Florida where he enjoys the anonymity and to be honest it looks as though the change has worked as he has played quite well under the circumstances this season and gives his team a chance to win every night. This should be a relatively exciting affair considering the two team's involved and what their narrative in this league has been over the last few seasons and while I am tempted to take the home dog here it is tough to look the other way with the Isles right now and I think they are a safe pick at a relatively reasonable price.