The battle of the Sunshine State will feature two of the NHL’s deadliest offensive teams in the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. Florida enters the second round as the favourites to win and carries the second-best odds of the eight remaining teams to win the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay is the reigning and defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champions and will look for their three-peat. This is where you can find everything, including team win odds, the over/under, and point spreads.
Florida Panthers – Series Betting (-152)
The Panthers made sure their regular season wasn’t a flash in the pan when they took down Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Carter Verhaeghe leads all Florida players in points with 12, including the game-winning overtime goal in Game 6 to clinch the series. Aaron Ekblad led all Panthers defensemen with five points, and he appears to be in excellent form. Sergei Bobrovsky posted a .906 save percentage in six games but surrendered three goals or more in four of six. The biggest concern is the team’s lack of power play production, while their penalty kill sits at 70.3%.
The Panthers represent the Eastern Conference’s best odds to go all the way and are second league-wide behind the Colorado Avalanche. A series sweep brings in the most value at +558, while going five games brings those odds down to +265. Should the series go to a more-likely six or seven games, the odds become a respectable +198. The Panthers bring in a +980 value to sweep the Lightning, while ending in a seven-game finale reduces the value to +430.
Lightning vs Panthers Head-to-Head
The Lightning vs Panthers matchup is intriguing on many levels, and not just due to the two teams representing one state. The regular-season series was split into two wins per side and one blowout each. Florida won the first contest by a score of 4-1, thanks to multi-point performances from Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett. Tampa won the second game in overtime 3-2 after Brayden Point’s clutch goal sealed the extra point. A five-point night for Jonathan Huberdeau led his team to a 9-3 victory in the third meeting, and Nikita Kucherov’s five points in the final game were the difference-maker in an 8-4 final.
Both teams possess similar qualities: waves of offensive production, a sturdy defense, and a capable goaltender who can steal a game. Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette has done a spectacular job rallying his troops, and he’ll go head-to-head against the pedigree of Jon Cooper. Both teams overcame equally-powerful offensive-minded teams in the first round and are battle-tested for Round 2.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Series Betting (+126)
It wasn’t easy, but the Lightning figured out a way to string together consecutive wins to take down the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games. A two-goal performance from Nick Paul helped Tampa Bay to a 2-1 victory in Game 7, and Andrei Vasilevskiy was nearly unbeatable. Down the stretch of the series, Kucherov and Steven Stamkos found their stride, and the overall defensive efforts led the team into the second round. Tampa Bay’s road to the Stanley Cup continues with the league’s best team in the regular season. They’ll need to be better than 43.4% in the faceoff circle if they wish to control puck possession throughout the series.
The Lightning are entering this round as underdogs, as they were in the first round against the Maple Leafs. As the defending, back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, they deserve a little more credit. If they manage to humiliate the Panthers in a series sweep, the odds carry over to a whopping +1300. Winning in five games brings that number down to a +790, and a six-game series win reduces it to less than half at +520. Should the series go seven games and Tampa Bay wins, you’re looking at a +540 return.
Odds via FanDuel and BetMGM
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