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The Chicago Blackhawks (28-28-8, 64 points) head to South Florida on Saturday to play the Florida Panthers (33-25-6, 72 points). The Blackhawks have played poorly of late losing four of the last seven and nine of the last 12. Chicago is in last place in the Central Division well off the pace in the playoff race.
Florida lost in its last outing to the Toronto Maple Leafs and are in fourth place in the Atlantic division just four points behind third place Toronto. Florida is within striking distance of reaching the postseason and currently is in 11th place but only four points from the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Blackhawks look for second straight victory in FloridaChicago is coming off of a 5-2 victory on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning and will look for their second straight victory in the State of Florida when they visit the Panthers on Saturday. Dominik Kubalik posted a hat trick in the win for the Blackhawks as Chicago rallied from an early deficit to beat Tampa Bay.
The leading goal scorer for Chicago is Dominik Lubalik with 29. Patrick Kane is the leader in assists with 50 and in total points with 78. Chicago is allowing an average of 3.14 goals per game and scores an average of 2.95 goals per game. The penalty kill for the Blackhawks is successful 81.9% of the time while the power play is one of the NHL's worst at 15.5%.
Panthers battling for playoff berthThe Florida Panthers look to bounce back from a loss to Toronto of 5-3 to get back on track in their attempt to reach the postseason. Florida is in fourth place in the Atlantic division but more importantly in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Panthers received goals from Mark Pysyk, Noel Acciari and Mike Hoffman in the loss to Toronto, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 shots.
Mike Hoffman is the goal scoring leader for Florida with 26 and Jonathan Huberbeau is the assists leader with 55 and the points leader with 77. Florida is allowing an average of 3.36 goals per game and averages slightly more on offense at 3.42 goals per game. The Florida power play scores 22.3% of the time while it's penalty-kill is below average at 78.0%.
- Florida is 4-9 in the last 13
- The Panthers are 0-5 in the last five at home
- Chicago is 12-4 in the last 16 versus Florida
- The Blackhawks are 5-2 in the last seven played in Florida
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Florida has much more to play for in this game as they battle for a playoff spot and Chicago is mired in last place in the Central Division, but the Blackhawks have owned the Panthers of late. Chicago has won five of the last seven games that have been played on Florida's home ice in Sunrise, and the Blackhawks have defeated the Panthers and 12 of the last 16 overall the two of played. Add to that, the fact that Florida has lost nine of its last 13 overall as well as each of its last five on its home ice and that equals a Blackhawks victory.
Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks
Full-Game Total Pick
The total has gone under in eight of the last 10 games that Chicago has played in Florida against the Panthers and the total has gone under in 11 of the last 18 overall between the Blackhawks and the Panthers. Both teams lack a solid offensive attack and the defenses have played much better of late. With a tight-checking game at both ends of the ice the total will easily go under in this game.