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3 Reasons Why The Florida Panthers Are A Smart Stanley Cup Bet

The Florida Panthers finished off Atlantic Division rival Boston to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second season in a row. Now the Panthers are favored by the NHL odds to take care of business against the New York Rangers and make it back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final.

While Florida lost at home in Game 5 with a chance to knock out the Bruins for the second season in a row, the Panthers still delivered a Game 6 clincher and that carried +425 odds according to the BetUS sportsbook.

3 Reasons To Bet The Florida Panthers To Win Lord Stanley’s Cup
Carter Verhaeghe #23 and the Florida Panthers face the Rangers in the Stanley Cup. Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images/AFP

3 Reasons Why The Florida Panthers Are A Smart Stanley Cup Bet

The Panthers had won one playoff series in the previous 24 seasons before an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2023. Florida showed its toughness by closing out two series on the road as it played for the NHL title for the first time since 1996.

According to the NHL playoff odds, the Panthers (+225) have the second-best odds to win the Stanley Cup.

The Panthers Are Peaking In The Playoffs

Florida needed a late-season surge just to make it into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Panthers edged out the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Florida won 10 of its first 11 games decided by one goal in the postseason leaving some to wonder if the run to the Stanley Cup Finals was a bit of a fluke.

With the way that the Panthers sealed the deal against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins made it clear that they deserve to be mentioned among the top teams in the NHL.

The Las Vegas odds had Florida favored in each of its last 15 games and that includes each of the playoff games so the Panthers are comfortable in the role of the favorite. They are priced at -135 to win the series with the Rangers even though the Rangers have home-ice advantage as the President’s Trophy winners.

After opening on the road in each of the four series in the 2023 playoffs, Florida had home-ice advantage in their first two playoff series.

Florida doesn’t have veteran winger Anthony Duclair or Eric Staal any longer and physical defenseman Radko Gudas is also gone, but most of the team returns as the Panthers look to finish what they started a season ago. Veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who hasn’t been in the playoffs since the 2019-20 season, and former Stanley Cup champion Vladimir Tarasenko have been added to the roster as the Panthers look to finish what they started last season.

Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Carter Verhaeghe, Brandon Montour, Gustav Forsling, Sam Bennett, Eetu Luostarinen, and Sergei Bobrovsky have been together for the last four seasons so there is plenty of on-ice chemistry with the nucleus of this Florida team.

With Reinhart, Tarasenko, Montour, and Ekman-Larsson among the 10 players with the Panthers as unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, it feels like now or never for this Florida team to make a run at the franchise’s first NHL title.

Six Panthers had at least 20 goals during the regular season led by 57-goal scorer Sam Reinhart, one of six players to reach 20 goals for Florida in the regular season. Eleven different players already have at least two goals in the playoffs so depth scoring is not a concern.

Let’s Get Physical

Florida is not afraid to get physical and for the second year in a row, the Panthers pushed the Bruins around in the postseason.

With officials likely to let more of the borderline hits go, the Panthers were able to play a chippy style and not be punished with regular trips to the penalty box.

The New York Rangers and whichever team emerges out of the Western Conference will offer a different challenge than either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Boston Bruins. However, Florida’s style of play is suited to winning at this time of the year.

It doesn’t hurt to have a goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky who has allowed two goals or less in eight of the 11 playoff games this season so the players in front of Bobrovsky can take chances knowing that their goalie can deliver a clutch save.

Getting Healthy at the Right Time

Fifteen Florida skaters have played in every playoff game this season. However, there were some injury concerns coming into the postseason.

With forward Ryan Lomberg returning to the ice for the first time since Game 1 in the series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, it should be all hands on deck heading into the matchup with the New York Rangers.

Forward Sam Bennett joined defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Oliver Ekman-Larsson as the key players popping up on the injury reports. All the players who were considered to be questionable heading into Game 6 with the Bruins were able to play.

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