Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal (18) knocks Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) off the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
- The Tampa Bay Lightning (10-4-1) vs Carolina Hurricanes (12-3-1) game is the marquee game of the NHL’s eight-game schedule on February 22
- The Dallas Stars, scheduled to meet the Florida Panthers on Monday, are playing their first game in nine days
- Here are the odds, lines, and picks for each game, plus best bets
Bill Zito has made a major impact in his first season as the Florida Panthers general manager: His team is considered the NHL’s biggest surprise.
The Panthers (11-3-2) have the NHL’s third-best record, and they are very much in contention to win the Central Division, or even the Stanley Cup. Since the season began, the Panthers’ Stanley Cup odds have gone from +4767 to +2300 today.
Zito shook up the roster with the additions of Patric Hornqvist, Carter Verhaeghe, Radko Gudas, Radko Gudas and Markus Nutivaara among others. The general consensus is that Zito hit a home run in acquiring plucky scorer Hornqvist for inconsistent defenseman Mike Matheson
Even though the Dallas Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Panthers will be a clear favorites when they meet Monday.
NHL Odds February 22nd
|Calgary Flames||+135||+1 (-121)||O 6.5 (-114)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-159||-1 (+102)||U 6.5 (-107)|
|Buffalo Sabres||+132||+1 (-127)||O 5.5 (+108)|
|New York Islanders||-152||-1 (+108)||U 5.5 (-130)|
|Dallas Stars||-180||+1 (-180)||O 6 (-105)|
|Florida Panthers||-117||-1(+148)||U 6 (-117)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-122||-1 (+138)||O 6.0 (-113)|
|Carolina Hurricanes||+106||+1(-165)||U 6 (-108)|
|Los Angeles Kings||+140||+1 (-118)||O 5.5 (-109)|
|St. Louis Blues||-162||-1 (+100)||U 5.5 (-109)|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+107||+1 (-167)||O 5.5 (+116)|
|Colorado Avalanche||-124||-1 (+138)||U 5.5 (-141)|
|Anaheim Ducks||+128||+1 (-134)||O 5 (-134)|
|Arizona Coyotes||-148||-1 (+112)||U 5 (+110)|
|Minnesota Wild||-139||-1 (+118)||O 6 (+104)|
|San Jose Sharks||+120||+1 (-141)||U 6 (-125)|
Odds taken Feb. 21th at DraftKings
Islanders Rediscovering Their Identity
Anyone who has been following the Islanders closely knows that they have begun to play the way they did when they made an impressive run in last season’s postseason.
Their goals-against average has dipped to 2.35 goals-per-game, ranking them fourth in the NHL. Goalie Semyon Varlamov (7-4-0, 2.07 goals-against average, .925 save percentage) has been impressive to the point that highly-respected newcomer Ilya Sorokin hasn’t been able to show what he can do.
Trotz on 3-2 loss to Pens: “Life isn’t fair sometimes.” #Isles did everything they wanted to, played physical, bodies to the crease, outhit Pens, limited Pittsburgh to 18 shots.
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) February 21, 2021
The Islanders lost their last two games to the Penguins, but they played well enough to win the last game. Before then, they had won five of their last six and their only loss came in a shootout.
New York’s weakness is their offense. The Islanders barely score (2.42 goals per game) more than they give up. But they play Buffalo Monday, and the Islanders beat them twice last week. The Sabres only scored one goal in those two games.
While we may not trust the Islanders offense, but the spread is only one goal. They should beat them, and even a one-goal game gives you a push
Pick: Islanders -1 (+108), 2 units
2021 NHL Divisional Odds Tracker
Stars vs Panthers Could Be High Scoring
The new and improved Panthers can find the back of the net. The Panthers, averaging 3.44 goals per game, own the NHL’s fifth-best offense. Jonathan Huberdeau, with 22 points in 16 games, ranks seventh in the NHL scoring race.
Aleksander Barkov boasts 18 points, and Hornqvist had eight goals and 15 points. They have scored eight or more goals in eight of their 16 games this season.
Dallas Stars account for 20% of the NHLs postponed games. We’ve become the kid in class that never turns in his homework and prays to be graded on a curve. #GoStars 🤣
— Matt Day (@Matthew_N_Day) February 19, 2021
Because of the winter storm that devastated Texas, the Stars haven’t played in nine days. Before those games were postponed, the Stars weren’t playing well. They had lost five in a row, and given up eight goals in their two games. In those five losses, they were outscored 17-11.
The Stars, who were playing sloppy before the storm hit, should not be in sync defensively after the lengthy layoff. The Panthers would be expected to take advantage of that. Odds are attractive to take Panthers to win and coverthe spread.
Pick: Panthers -1 (+148), 1 units
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.