Panthers vs. Hurricanes Expert Pick – May 18, 2023
PANTHERS VS. HURRICANES EXPERT PICK – May 18, 2023 — One of these teams was supposed to get here. The other surprised almost everyone, but they caught lightning in a bottle. Florida appeared dead in the water after falling behind 3-1 to Boston in the first round, but the Panthers have won seven of their past eight to reach the Eastern finals for just the second time in team history.
Truthfully, the Panthers are a little lucky to be here, as they’ve managed to get here on the strength of four overtime wins in their past seven victories. Not so with the Hurricanes, who breezed through New Jersey in five and have barely been scratched in this postseason. Carolina’s been especially dominant on home ice, winning all six games played in Raleigh and posting a GAA of just 1.86 at PNC Arena.
That’s no fluke to see the Hurricanes cruising at home, as they’ve dominated at home all year. For the year, they’ve averaged almost a full goal more than their opponents in Raleigh, as they’re very comfortable in their building and coach Rod Brind’Amour expertly executes the second line change at home. Given how many shots on goal the Panthers allowed to Toronto, this might be tough sledding for Florida unless the Hurricanes’ shooting tails off.
(60-24-9 SU, 39-54 PL)
When: Thursday, May 18th at 8 p.m. EDT
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Public Bets: 57% on Carolina
Public Money: 64% on Carolina
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of May 18th, 2023
Florida vs. Carolina In-Season Trends
Betting on the OVER has been a solid way to make money on the Hurricanes in the postseason.
During the regular season, the Canes were an UNDER team, playing to the over just 35 times in 82 games. But in the postseason, every total has been set at 5.5 or less, leading to Carolina going 7-3-1 to the OVER against the Islanders and Devils.
Things went the other way for Florida, as the Maple Leafs couldn’t hit the Everglades at 20 feet in their series.
The UNDER cashed in all five games because it was set at 6.5 or higher, yet the Leafs scored exactly two goals in all five games and the Panthers won three out of four by a single goal. That was because Toronto didn’t get enough pucks to the net and only connected on 5.88% of their shots.
Carolina has looked much better at scoring the puck, and the Hurricanes have won 37 of the past 53 meetings between the teams in Raleigh.
Players to Watch
Much of what Florida does in this series will depend on Sergei Bobrovsky and the defense.
The Panthers have allowed several quality chances, but counted on Bobrovsky to keep bailing them out. That worked against the Leafs because Toronto crumbled under the pressure, but Carolina has been here before and doesn’t deal with the spotlight of Ontario. Bobrovsky has to be on top of his game to steal an early game and give the Panthers a chance in this series.
On the Carolina side, Brent Burns scored a pair of goals when these teams met in the regular season finale and came alive in the final two games against the Devils. Burns should have opportunities to do more of the same in this series, as Florida has proven very susceptible to the blue line.
Toronto’s stars didn’t do much against the Panthers, but one who did was defenseman Morgan Reilly, who scored in four of five games. Burns fills the same role for the Hurricanes, and he could take full advantage.
Florida’s been a great story this spring, but the Panthers were a little fortunate to get to this level. This series feels a lot like last year, in which the Rangers gave two great efforts in the first two rounds, but had nothing left after the first two games in the series and ran out of gas. But that series saw the Rangers give one last gasp because they were spurred on by the New York faithful in the first two games.
Florida doesn’t have that in its corner. The Panthers won’t see their fans until Game 3, and they’re facing one of the best home teams in the NHL. They’ve made an excellent showing in these playoffs, but this likely marks the beginning of the end for them. Carolina should start this series with a convincing win.
Hurricanes ML -145
Brent Burns O0.5 Points