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Nashville @ FLORIDA
FLORIDA +122 over Nashville

BEST LINES:  Pinnacle +122 BET365 +120 SportsInteraction +120 5DIMES +120

Posted at 2:00 PM EST.

OT included. 7:35 PM EST. A couple of weeks ago, the Panthers were 78% likely to make the playoffs according to hockeyreference.com ’s computer program. That likelihood had fallen to 6.7 percent before Monday’s win over Carolina and it’s still a major long-shot. The most vulnerable team the Panthers are chasing, the Devils, close at home against the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs and then at the Washington Capitals. A Panthers sweep of their four games and a 1-2-0 record by the Devils would get the job done for Florida. “We have to win out,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said on Monday, establishing the bottom line.

This is not a play on a “must-win” situation. What we know for sure is that the Panthers will bring it tonight and they are tough as shoe leather when they’re firing on all cylinders. What went wrong for the Panthers? The main problem was their start. They were 28th in the NHL in points as of Jan. 30. However, the Panthers have been one of the best teams in the league since then but they had little margin for error. Since Jan. 30, the Panthers have lost just three games to non-playoff teams (Senators twice and the Oilers). The Panthers are 13-3 in their past 16 games at home and now they’re a dog because Nashville’s stock is through the roof.

The question is how motivated will the Preds be after beating Tampa Bay 4-1 on Sunday. The Predators came out roaring in Tampa after they decided their effort wasn’t up to par on Saturday. “They [the team] had a meeting,” said head coach Peter Laviolette, “They weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and they straightened it out.” From where we stand, that’s a little arrogant. The coach was saying we can win when we want to. Hell, even the local media is getting a little ahead of itself, as they ran a “Predators playoff preview” today. Nashville has gone through the motions only in a few games recently. They have dropped four of their last seven games and are likely itching for the playoffs to begin. The Panthers have proven to be such a tough out at home and they also figure to be the more motivated team here. That prompts us to step in.

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Our Pick

FLORIDA +122 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.44)

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