The first-round matchup between the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals kicks off as we look at the moneyline, over/under, and player props for this game.
Florida Panthers (-225) vs Washington Capitals (+185)
FLA: 58-18-6, 4.11 GF/GP, 2.95 GA/GP, L10: 7-3-0
WSH: 44-26-12, 3.29 GF/GP, 2.95 GA/GP, L10: 4-4-2
The Panthers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the final stretch but lost three of the final four games when they decided to sit some players. Before that, they had won 13 in a row to lock up the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team. It was a fight by a few teams to try to pull themselves out of the second wild card so they didn’t get matched up with this juggernaut. The Panthers are 2-1 against the Capitals this season while averaging over eight combined goals per game.
The Panthers were first in the NHL in goals for per game with 4.11, while the Capitals had close to one goal fewer scored per game (3.29). Each team had the exact same goals against per game. The Panthers have better goaltending this season and will be able to put the Capitals’ goalie under fire at all times. The Capitals also come into this series having lost four games in a row but get their captain Alex Ovechkin back for Game 1. That will make a difference but won’t be enough for them to overcome the Panthers. Take the Panthers and the over (O6.5, -120) as goals will come often.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Assists (Over 0.5, -200) & Points (Over 1.5, +135)
Jonathan Huberdeau recorded at least a point in 33 of his final 37 games of the season, with 14 of those being multi-point games. He also recorded 43 assists over that span. Betting on him tallying an assist is much safer and will likely hit, but don’t shy away from his ability to stack up points, especially against a weaker Capitals team in goal.
Huberdeau finished first in the NHL in assists with 85 in 80 games while finishing second in points with 115, which was by far a career year. The Panthers are looking to go all the way this season but will likely have to do it by outscoring their opponents. Huberdeau is key to doing so as the offence ran through him this season on the highest-scoring team in the NHL.
Alex Ovechkin – Points (Over 0.5, -161)
Ovechkin is returning to the lineup after missing a number of games at the end of the season for the Capitals. Their team struggled in that time without his scoring touch and presence in the lineup. Now that he’s back, the offence should pick up a bit and it won’t be extremely difficult to score considering the Panthers aren’t the best team at defending. They have a high-flying offence that sometimes sacrifices defence for more scoring. Even if the Capitals don’t win the game, they should be able to put some goals on the board with Ovechkin involved.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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