Stephen Nover Free NHL Thursday Play

On March 16, 2017, in Free Picks, NHL, by Stephen

Panthers plus $1.45 at Blue Jackets

If the Panthers are indeed a playoff team they need to show it here. I respect the Blue Jackets, who already have set a franchise record for wins (44) and points (94) with 14 games still left.

But I’m seduced by this high ‘dog price enough to get involved with Florida.

The oddsmaker set a high price based not just on Columbus’ record and home ice, but on the Panthers having just two wins in their last 10 games and having James Reimer in net instead of injured Roberto Luongo.

Maybe it’s a leap of faith, but I was encouraged by the Panthers’ last game – a 7-2 home victory against Toronto two nights ago. That should provide a much needed confidence and momenum boost for the Panthers, who following this matchup play the Rangers and Penguins. Each of those games are on the road, too. These three away games are crucial for the Panthers, who are six points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. This is a near must-win spot for Florida considering its next two games.

The Panthers had lost five straight until beating the Maple Leafs. Three of those losses, however, were by one goal. Reimer is 1-6-1 in his last eight starts, but has played well in nmost of those games so that record is misleading.

Florida has several factors going. The Panthers are a decent road team. They are 9-6 in their past 15 away matchups, including 5-2 during their last seven. They also have had the Blue Jackets’ number beating them five of the last six times.

Columbus is off a road victory against the Flyers this past Monday. The Blue Jackets are 5-12 the past 17 times following a victory.


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