We’re down to the final four in the Stanley Cup playoffs and I don’t think too many of the so-called experts had the Florida Panthers among the quartet. Shocking everyone, including themselves, with a first round upset of the record-breaking Boston Bruins, Florida continued its run taking out the Toronto Maples Leafs in five games. As the bottom seed Florida opens the Eastern Conference final on the road against the Metropolitan Division champion Carolina Hurricanes with Game 2 set for Saturday night. After dropping Game 1 of the Boston series, the Panthers have been a NHL best pick winning six straight road contests while going 7-1 overall after losing three of their first four playoff games. A NHL betting line underdog at BetRivers sportsbook in every postseason game, that trend will continue in Carolina, though it hasn’t hampered Florida one bit.
Daily NHL Picks
Florida at Carolina, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)
Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes
Many times we’ve seen a team pull a stunning upset only to falter in the next round. Welp, the Panthers pulled off a beaut in the opening series taking out a Bruins club that finished the regular season with 23 more wins and 43 more points. And how they did it was more impressive. Florida won the final three games of the series, twice in Boston in overtime, and won three times on the road overall in the series. The Bruins didn’t lose three consecutive games all season until that slide.
Instead of being happy with their accomplishment the Panthers got a jolt of confidence and performed better in the East quarterfinal bouncing Toronto in five games again winning three games on the road and prevailing twice in OT. For the second straight series the Panthers will square off with an opponent for the first time in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They beat Toronto in five games holding the powerful Leafs offense to two goals in every game in the clubs first postseason experience.
With his starting spot in net seemingly handed to Alex Lyon late in the season, Sergei Bobrovsky was reinserted in the Boston series winning the last three games. And he was marvelous against Toronto sporting a 1.89 GAA and .943 save percentage. He saved his best effort for the series-clincher stopping 50 shots in the 3-2 overtime win. He also helped the Panthers cash the UNDER on the NHL betting line in all five games.
With contributions up and down the roster the Panthers are averaging 3.33 goals with 10 players scoring multiple times. Matthew Tkachuk leads them with 16 points with Carter Verhaeghe adding 12. Sam Reinhart and defenseman Brandon Montour each have six goals. And the top players came up big in the clutch with Tkachuk, Verhaeghe and Reinhart netting OT winners. Nick Cousins has two goals with one coming in the extra session to clinch the Toronto series.
Carolina plays a solid defensive game finishing second in goals against during the season. The Canes thwarted the speedy New Jersey Devils in the previous round allowing a total of five goals in their four wins to the NHL’s fourth-best offense. Frederik Anderson compiled a 1.80 GAA and .931 SP in six games since Antti Raanta was lost to injury.
Their defensive play was overshadowed by an explosive offensive outburst in the New Jersey series. The Canes averaged 4.8 goals scoring at least three times in every outing. Like Florida, the Canes are getting balanced scoring with six players tallying at least eight points in the first 11 games, led by 10 each from Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho. The Canes enter the series on a 7-3 run as an NHL odds pick against the OVER.
The return of Teuvo Teravainen should give the Canes lineup a boost. Coach Rod Brind’Amour said he’s an elite passer and one of the team’s better defenders. They didn’t do too badly without him making the Canes even scarier moving forward.
Florida is a great underdog story, but they had a lot go right for them through two rounds winning a bunch of close games and going 4-0 in OT. The Panthers were in playoff mode before the season ended battling for a wild card and that has to impact how them which is why I’m backing the home team as my NHL pick of the day.
NHL Same Game Parlay Picks: Carolina / UNDER
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