Florida Panthers (24-17-11) at Minnesota Wild (26-20-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 12, 2015, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -175 / Florida Panthers +158 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Panthers look to stay in the mix in the Eastern Conference playoff picture while Minnesota looks to stay red hot and win their eighth in their last 10 contests.
The Florida Panthers are coming off their most impressive win of the season as they took down the Anaheim Ducks with ease in their last game and will look to make it two in a row as they head into Minnesota to take on a Wild team that has been as good as anyone in the league over the last few weeks. The Panthers are in an interesting position as they are well away from claiming another top draft pick and are still on the fringe of making the playoffs but if they can continue to play well and trend in a positive direction this is a scrappy bunch that could very well sneak into the playoffs just a year removed from selecting with the first overall pick in the draft. Roberto Luongo has had a great season back in Sunrise and will give some continuity and skill back to the goaltending position for the Florida franchise and he will get the call here against Devan Dubnyk who has been brilliant since getting traded from the Arizona Coyotes.
The Wild had a slow start to the season and have endured a laundry list of injuries along the way but their move to acquire Dubnyk from the Coyotes has proven to be one of genius at the moment as he has been the best goalie in the league of late and already has recorded four shutouts since coming over. Minnesota is on the brink of jumping into the playoff picture as they're just four points back of the second wild card position currently held by the Sharks and with just under 30 games left to be played I feel like this race is going to come down to the wire and the team that makes the most beneficial moves at the trade deadline could very well sneak into the Western Conference postseason. I have really enjoyed watching this Panthers team this season but this just looks like a bad spot for them as Minny is solid at home and should claim the two points here in a bit of a let down spot for the Cats after their big win against Anaheim.