Florida Panthers vs Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Picks, Odds, Predictions 10/14/2021

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Florida Panthers meet in NHL action from the BB&T Center on Thursday night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins come into this one looking to make more noise after opening the year with a 6-2 romp over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning last time out. The game was scoreless through the opening 20 minutes but Danton Heinen opened the scoring for the Pens just 12 second into the middle frame. Brian Boyle doubled the lead just under four minutes later and that lead held up through the rest of the second period and the first half of the 3rd before Dominik Simon pushed Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-0 just after the midway point of the 3rd period. The Bolts finally got on the board with just under six minutes to go in the 3rd, but made the questionable decision to pull the goaltender, which Teddy Blueger made them pay for just 30 seconds later. Tampa Bay pulled one back but two more empty netters from Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust secured the win in blowout fashion for the Penguins. Tristan Jarry got the win in goal after stopping 26 of 28 shots faced in the win.

The Florida Panthers will be out to take another step forward in 2021-22 after finishing the season with a 37-14-5 mark last year, ending up in 2nd in the Central division, booking their spot in the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1996-97. The stay was short-lived though as Florida was bounced in the first round by Tampa bay in six games. The Panthers made some noise in the offseason, trading for Buffalo Sabres’ leading scorer Sam Reinhart as well as bringing in a veteran presence in Joe Thornton. The Panthers re-signed key pieces like captain Aleksander Barkov to an 8-year extension as well as guys like Sam Bennett and Carter Verhaeghe. That offset the loss of Keith Yandle to a buy-out and Chris Dreidger to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft, leaving Spencer Knight to assume top goaltending duties alongside Sergei Bobrovsky this season.

Pittsburgh is 4-0 in their last 4 Thursday games and 9-4 in their last 13 road games while the over is 5-2 in their last 7 games following a win. Florida is 12-3 in their last 15 home games and 25-9 in their last 34 games as a home favorite while the over is 11-5-2 in their last 18 games overall.

I’m not sure which way to lean here, as the Penguins looked really good in the opener, but is it sustainable or was it just a hangover from the Lightning with their banner raising ceremony. The Panthers are good, but how much can we really trust Spencer Knight? Either way, I think the goals are coming our way in bunches on Thursday. I think we’re going to see a lot of picking the puck out of the back of the net and a 5-4 or 6-5 game either way you slice it would not surprise me here. Give me the over.

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