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Panthers vs. Golden Knights NHL Game 1 Expert Pick – June 3

Panthers vs. Golden Knights NHL Game 1 Expert Pick – June 3, 2023

PANTHERS VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTS NHL GAME 1 EXPERT PICK – June 3, 2023 — The Panthers seem to have been kissed by destiny over the past month, as they’re entering this series as winners of 11 of their past 12 contests. Florida really wasn’t the better team in the Eastern Conference Finals and might not have been better in the previous round either, but the Panthers have gotten the best goaltending, which has made all the difference.

But against Vegas, they meet their deepest opponent yet. The Golden Knights have made themselves a tough out because you can’t hope to stop all four lines with this team. You might be able to limit the effectiveness of the top line, as Dallas did by keeping Mark Stone off the scoresheet and limiting Jack Eichel to just one assist per game, but nobody has kept all four lines from finding a solution eventually.

But none of the Golden Knights’ previous wins came against a goaltender of Sergei Bobrovsky’s caliber. Every season, a hot goalie turns out to be an X-factor in at least one series, and Bobrovsky’s done that in two of them now. If anyone’s going to stop Vegas’ plethora of attackers, he’s the one who can do it.

The Odds






Florida Panthers

(54-36-8 SU,
45-53 PL)





Vegas Golden Knights

(63-26-10 SU, 54-45 PL)





Puck Drop

When: Saturday, June 3rd at 8:00 p.m. EDT

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Public Bets: 55% on Florida

Public Money: 54% on Florida

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of June 3rd, 2023

Florida vs. Vegas In-Season Trends

Vegas has been a house of horrors for Florida, as the Panthers have never won in T-Mobile Arena. Granted, they’ve only ever gone there five times over Vegas’ six years in the league (they didn’t travel outside their division during the COVID season in 2021), but they’re 0-5 and lost four of five by multiple goals.

For the total, there’s a contrast here. Vegas has had no problem playing lower-scoring games, but the Golden Knights tend to give their crowd a show more often than not. Over their past 17 home games, Vegas has played OVER 12 times. That’s a major contrast with Florida; only the last game with Carolina has gone over the total in the Panthers’ past nine games.

Players to Watch

If the playoffs ended right now, Matthew Tkachuk would be the obvious choice for the Conn Smythe Award. He’s been deadly on the power play with nine points, and he’s scored 21 points in 16 playoff games to pace all skaters in the Eastern Conference. If Florida’s going to make this a series, he’ll have to keep up his scoring.

On the other side, Jonathan Marchessault continues his playoff renaissance ever since the Winnipeg series. The Golden Knights didn’t need him to get by the Jets, but his play has made a big difference against Edmonton and Dallas. With nine goals and 17 points in the playoffs, he’s proving to be Vegas’ most important attacker most nights.

The Pick

Florida is rolling, but Vegas just has more depth and is playing at home. The Golden Knights are also a team on a mission. Vegas is far more experienced and wiser than it was five years ago when it went out to Washington in the Stanley Cup Finals in five games. In that series, the Golden Knights were the plucky upstarts with nothing to lose, while the Capitals felt like it was then or never to win the Cup.

Vegas is the team feeling that pressure this time, and that tends to be a major motivator. As long as the Golden Knights aren’t stonewalled by Bobrovsky, they should take this series, and I think they take advantage of Florida’s nine-day rust here.

Dan’s Picks

Golden Knights ML

Under 5.5

Jonathan Marchessault Over 0.5 Points


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