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NHL · 5 months ago

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers Series Betting Preview & Picks

Grant White

Grant White

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers Series Betting Preview & Picks

For the first time since 1996, the Florida Panthers are off to the Eastern Conference Final. The Panthers made short work of the favored Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round, securing just their third series win since their trip to the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche. 

Standing in their way is the perennial powerhouse, Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes have won their division in three straight years; however, this is the first time they’ve made it out of the Conference Semifinals over that stretch. 

Although both teams snapped out of their respective ruts to make it to the third round, one competitor has a clear advantage with a berth to the Finals on the line. 

Hurricanes vs. Panthers Series Information

  • Game 1: CAR vs. FLA – May 18 @ 8 pm ET
  • Game 2: CAR vs. FLA – May 20 @ 8 pm ET
  • Game 3: FLA vs. CAR – May 22 @ 8 pm ET
  • Game 4: FLA vs. CAR – May 24 @ 8 pm ET
  • *Game 5: CAR vs. FLA – May 26, TBD
  • *Game 6: FLA vs. CAR – May 28, TBD
  • *Game 7: CAR vs. FLA – May 30, TBD

Kudos to the Panthers for dispatching the Leafs as easily as they did. Florida was expected to be nothing more than a speedbump on the Leafs’ path to the conference finals, but they turned the tables on their Atlantic Division counterparts. Still, their success comes from an unsustainable place, and they are at risk of regression at a critical juncture of their season. 

Florida has been outplayed in all but four postseason games, including eight of their past ten. Across that stretch, the Panthers have allowed an average of 10.9 high-danger chances per game, with a 46.2% expected goals-for rating. Worse, they’ve out-chanced their opponents in high-danger chances just three times over the ten-game sample, relying on unsustainable goaltending and scoring production to knock off two of the best teams in the league. 

Sergei Bobrovsky has had a renaissance in the playoffs. The Russian netminder started the postseason on the bench, relegated to backup duty behind Alex Lyon. After three ineffective starts, Bobrovsky was called upon to salvage the Panthers’ championship aspirations, and things couldn’t have gone better.

Bobrovsky has posted a 91.8% save percentage in the playoffs, above his regular season average of 90.1%. Although impressive, the Panthers goalie has vastly overachieved relative to recent performances and could spiral into a correction phase at any moment. Given the Panthers’ defensive woes, we’re betting that comes sooner rather than later.

Hurricanes vs. Panthers  Series Odds on FanDuel

  • Series Price: Hurricanes -145 | Panthers +120
  • Stanley Cup Odds: Hurricanes +200 | Panthers +350

The Hurricanes have been the pre-eminent analytics team over the past few seasons. Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, Carolina has the top-rated expected goals-for percentage in the NHL. Moreover, they’ve allowed the fewest scoring chances and sixth-fewest high-danger opportunities across that stretch. More impressively, they are the league leaders in high-danger chances, a standard they’ve maintained over their recent sample. 

Over their previous seven contests, the Canes have attempted at least ten high-danger and 25 scoring opportunities on five occasions. Further, the Metropolitan Division winners are averaging 12.1 quality and 26.7 scoring chances over that sample. Combined with their sterling defensive structure, the Hurricanes have an impressive 54.6% expected goals-for rating while outplaying their opponents in five of seven matchups.

Hurricanes vs. Panthers Picks

  • Hurricanes -145
  • Series Spread Hurricanes -1.5 (+125)

The current series price doesn’t accurately reflect the Hurricanes’ chances of advancing to the next round. Carolina has a substantive analytics advantage and more well-rounded scoring, with 11 different skaters recording at least six points. 

The Panthers haven’t been able to contain either of the first two teams they faced in the postseason, and we’re not expecting anything different in the Eastern Conference Final. Eventually, their puck luck will run out. Scoring will return to normal ranges, and Bobrovsky will inevitably come back down to earth.

We’re betting the Canes advance in six games or fewer.