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Expect Bobrovsky, Shesterkin to Shine in Game 1 of Panthers-Rangers Series

Florida Favored in Eastern Conference Finals

It seems pretty clear watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs that the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. Now they get together with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final at stake. The NHL odds have the series opener approaching Pick’em status.

There isn’t much playoff history to help those who bet online get a read on this series. Their only series was in 1997 when the Rangers won in five games. Florida won two of the three meetings during the regular season with two of the three games being decided by one goal.

Expect Bobrovsky, Shesterkin to Shine in Game 1 of Panthers-Rangers Series
Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Florida Panthers | Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images/AFP

The last matchup between the Panthers and the Rangers to finish under the total was in 2016, a stretch of 19 games.

The Las Vegas odds opened with the Rangers as the slight favorite in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden. However, Florida is currently at -115 to win the series opener with the Rangers at -105. There are +235 odds for the Panthers to cover at -1½ on the puck line.

The Panthers are priced at +375 to win the series in six games and make it back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Finals. There are +450 odds for either Florida or New York to win the series in seven games.

According to the NHL playoff odds, the Panthers (+225) are tied with the Dallas Stars for the shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup. The Rangers are at +360 in the championship odds.


Panthers vs Rangers Game Information

  • Game: Florida Panthers 60-27-6 (30-12-4 on the road) at New York Rangers 70-25-4 (34-12-0 at home).
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, May 22, 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Panthers vs Rangers Live Stream: NHL.com



Panthers Thrive Under Playoff Pressure

The Panthers are 14-3 in their last 17 one-goal games in the playoffs and have won 11 straight overtime games in the playoffs so being engaged in tight games is no problem.

There has been only one overtime game so far in this year’s playoffs. Don’t be surprised to see that change in this series.

Florida opened all four of its 2023 playoff series on the road after needing a late surge to become the final team from the Eastern Conference to qualify for the postseason. Florida had home-ice advantage in the first two rounds but that is not the case against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers.

The scoring has come from many of the usual suspects with Matthew Tkachuk leading Florida with 10 assists and 14 points in the playoffs. Aleksander Barkov has five goals and eight assists while Carter Verhaeghe leads the team with six goals. Keep an eye on them as player prop options.

Defenseman Gustav Forsling scored what proved to be the series-clinching goal against the Bruins and he is +8 in the playoffs, the best mark on the Panthers.

Six of Florida’s last nine games went over the total.


Rangers Eager to Reverse the Curse

The Rangers are trying to overcome the Presidents’ Trophy curse.

They are the first Presidents’ Trophy winner to advance to the conference finals since the 2014-15 Rangers squad. The 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks are the last team to lead the NHL in points during the regular season and win the Stanley Cup.

With five of the top six scorers for New York in this year’s playoffs 30 or older, the Rangers shouldn’t be bothered by the pressure of being so close to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

Fifteen of the 35 goals in the playoffs have come on the power play or while short-handed. Four of those power-play goals have come from Vincent Trocheck while Chris Kreider leads the Rangers with seven goals in the playoffs.

Florida likes to push the envelope so there could be opportunities on the power play in this series.

Five of the last seven games for the Rangers went over the total.


The Rangers have been home underdogs just three times this season, with one of those matchups coming against the Panthers. They won two of those three games.

Florida has won 19 of its last 22 games as a road favorite and has covered against the puck line in 14 of those games.

Here are some numbers to consider for those who bet online:

  • Nine of the last 10 times the Rangers played at home against Florida, the game went over the total.
  • Florida is 53-23-2 as a favorite this season.
  • The Rangers are 13-7-2 as the underdog.
  • Just 17 of Florida’s 46 road games went over the Las Vegas odds total.
  • The Rangers are 21-25 against the puck line at home.


Be Wary of One Trend

Both the Rangers and the Panthers have seen recent games land over the total. However, goalies Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers head into this series with plenty of confidence.

The Rangers took advantage of mediocre goaltending at times against the Hurricanes while the Panthers are thrilled to see the last of Boston’s Jeremy Swayman.

The teams have almost identical goals per game marks of 3.55 and 3.50 in the playoffs. Don’t be surprised to see those numbers drop in this series. Plenty of early money has been coming in on the game landing under the 5½-goal total.

The Rangers are 4-1 at home in the playoffs and the Panthers are 4-1 on the road so something will have to give in Game 1.

Keep an eye on the status of forward Filip Chytil for the Rangers. His last regular-season game was on Nov. 2 and he played just 10:23 in his lone playoff game. He could return to the ice at some point in this series.


Panthers vs Rangers Game 1 Prediction

Rangers 3, Panthers 2



Questions Of The Day

Which team has a better record against the puck line this season going into Game 1 of the series between the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers?

The Rangers are 48-44 against the puck line while Florida is 45-48 ATS.

What are good player prop options for Game 1 of the Panthers-Rangers series?

Rangers defenseman Adam Fox has been pretty quiet in this year’s playoffs. Take a look at the -118 odds for him to have a point and the +345 odds for Fox to have at least two points. Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad is at +199 to have a point in Game 1.

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