Veterans Clash with Rising Stars: Penguins vs. Panthers Battle for NHL Supremacy

Amerant Bank Arena

The Pittsburgh Penguins(11-11-3) and Florida Panthers(15-8-2) enter this December 8th matchup at opposite ends of the spectrum. Pittsburgh, a team adorned with Stanley Cup glory and veteran leadership, finds themselves floundering in the Metropolitan Division. The Panthers, conversely, are a young and hungry team on the rise, fresh off a Stanley Cup Final appearance and firmly entrenched in the playoff picture.

Top 5 NHL Betting Models Pick Analysis:

  1. Dimers: Panthers 58%, Under 54%
  2. BetMGM: Panthers 54%, Under 50%
  3. FanDuel: Panthers 60%, Under 54%
  4. DraftKings: Panthers 57%, Under 53%
  5. PointsBet: Panthers 56%, Under 53%

BetQL: Panthers 62%, Under 52% SportsLine: Panthers 59%, Over 56%

Average Pick: Panthers 58.3%, Under 53.7%

Pythagorean Theorem Prediction:

  • Penguins: 81 GF, 79 GA (0.506 winning percentage)
  • Panthers: 77 GF, 65 GA (0.544 winning percentage)

Other Conditions:

  • Penguins: Struggling with slow starts and inconsistent power play
  • Panthers: Top line of Barkov, Rodrigues, and Reinhart has been hot
  • Key injuries: None reported

Average Final Score Prediction:

  • Panthers: 4.44
  • Penguins: 2.94

My Prediction:

  • Panthers 4 – Penguins 2

Best Possible Pick:

  • Moneyline: Panthers (-170)
  • Total: Under 6.5

Pittsburgh’s Peril:

The Penguins’ woes stem from a combination of factors. Their once-dominant power play has been anemic, failing to convert in 33 straight opportunities. Their offense, while boasting the ever-dangerous Sidney Crosby (15 goals), lacks consistency and struggles to break down stingy defenses. Moreover, the aging core of Crosby, Malkin (37), and Letang (36) raises questions about their ability to maintain their elite level of play.

Panthers Prowling:

The Panthers, in stark contrast, exude confidence and youth. Their dynamic top line of Aleksander Barkov, Evan Rodrigues, and Sam Reinhart has been tearing through opposing defenses, with Reinhart leading the charge (17 goals, tied for 2nd in the NHL). The return of top defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour has solidified their backend, and Sergei Bobrovsky’s stellar goaltending (2.49 GAA) provides a reliable safety net.

Key Matchups:

The battle between Crosby and Barkov will be a center-ice showdown of two generational talents. Crosby’s experience and hockey IQ will be put to the test against Barkov’s relentless energy and offensive prowess.

Another key matchup will involve the Panthers’ potent top line against the Penguins’ defensive core, anchored by the veteran presence of Letang and the offensive contributions of Karlsson. The Panthers’ ability to generate scoring chances will depend on their ability to exploit any weaknesses in the Penguins’ defense.

Special Teams Showdown:

The disparity between the Penguins’ abysmal power play and the Panthers’ efficient penalty kill (81.7%) could be a decisive factor. If the Penguins manage to break their power play slump, it could be a game-changer. However, if they continue to struggle, the Panthers could capitalize on their shorthanded opportunities and build a crucial lead.


While the Penguins still possess the talent to pull off an upset, the Panthers’ overall strength and current momentum give them a slight edge. Their potent offense, coupled with their stingy defense and solid goaltending, should be enough to overcome the Penguins’ challenges.

Predicted Score:

Florida Panthers 4 – Pittsburgh Penguins 2


While the Penguins are a talented team, their struggles with slow starts and inconsistent power play make them vulnerable against a high-powered Panthers team. The Panthers’ top line is clicking, and their defense is playing well. The Pythagorean theorem and strength of schedule also favor the Panthers. The average pick from the top 5 betting models and my prediction both agree that the Panthers are the more likely team to win. Therefore, the best possible pick for this game is the Panthers (-170) on the moneyline and the Under 6.5 on the total.

Pick: Panthers -1.5 **WINNER**

O/U: Under 6.5 **WINNER**