With the National Hockey League season entering its final stage, opportunities to bet on the coolest game on earth are dwindling. So why not lay it all on the line during the Stanley Cup Final with same-game parlays and futures wagers? We know one thing and that’s that the league will crown a first-time champion within the next few weeks as the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights each seek their first title in their second Stanley Cup Finals appearance. How they ended up here is vastly different. A huge underdog on the NHL odds as the No. 8 seed in the East, the Panthers hit another gear upsetting the heavily-favored Boston Bruins in the opening round then taking out Toronto in five games and sweeping the Hurricanes in the East Final. Overall they enter the series as a NHL best pick with wins in 11 of their last 12 games. The road for Vegas was more straightforward. It took just 17 games for the top seed in the West to reach the Stanley Cup Final where they opened the series and Game 1 as the favorite at BetRivers sportsbook.
Daily NHL Picks for Saturday, June 3
Stanley Cup Final – Game 1
Florida at Vegas, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)
Florida Panthers at Vegas Golden Knights
The Florida coaching staff has made all the right moves this postseason and it paid off with the team’s second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The biggest adjustment came in net when coach Paul Maurice went back to Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 4 of the series with Boston. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner struggled earlier in the season posting a losing record with a 3.24 GAA and .897 save percentage through mid-January. He went on IR with a LBI giving way to Alex Lyon, who backstopped an impressive run late in the season just to get Florida into the playoffs.
Like every successful team it took everyone on the roster coming together and believing they could do what most thought was impossible. Trailing the Bruins in the opening series, Bobrovsky was put back in net. Though they lost Game 4 and were facing elimination, the Panthers stunned Boston winning three straight, two in overtime, and they haven’t looked back. Bobrovsky befuddled Toronto and Carolina moving up the board as a NHL futures pick for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
In those two series the Panthers’ netminder stopped 332 of 348 shots while posting a 1.50 GAA. He allowed two goals or less in each of the first eight games including his first career playoff shutout when Carolina was in a must-win situation in Game 3 of the East Final. And Bobrovsky has been money in overtime helping the Panthers to an amazing 6-0 record. In net for nearly 115 OT minutes, he stopped all 54 shots.
You still need to score in order to win games and the Panthers have done just enough. Their best players have been that in the playoff run with Matthew Tkachuk supplying a bulk of the firepower. The club’s leading scorer with 109 points during the regular season, Tkachuk has at least one point in 13 of 16 playoff games with three of his nine goals also overtime winners.
Vegas earned the No. 1 seed in the West but that shouldn’t sway your opinion of the series, especially after what we saw the Panthers do in taking out three 50-win teams. And the clubs played two tight regular season games with both basically 1-goal affairs. Vegas won the first meeting 4-2 with the game-winner coming with three and a half minutes remaining with an empty-netter following. The Panthers are 9-1 this postseason in one-goal games.
Florida returned the favor posting a 2-1 home win in early March with Bobrovsky stopping 23 shots in that one. The clubs played below the total on the NHL betting line in both games and goals might be hard to come by with Adin Hill playing at a high level in net for Vegas. Taking over for the injured Laurent Brossoit in the Edmonton series, Hill has a 2.07 GAA and .937 save percentage in 11 Stanley Cup playoff games.
With seven players recording at least 11 points and six players with at least six goals, the Golden Knights have a deeper and more diverse offensive attack. And they are coming off a dominant 6-0 win over Dallas in the West Final clincher. I’m not ready to give up on the Panthers, but let’s be honest, their luck has to change at some point which is why backing the home team in Game 1 looks like a smart play on the NHL odds at BetRivers sportsbook.
Stanley Cup Game 1 Same Game Parlay Vegas -130 / UNDER 6.5
Check out the latest NHL betting odds at BetRivers.