It looks like we’re going to get to the Stanley Cup Finals quickly with the Knights and the Panthers both up 3-0 in their series. Last night I lost 2.22 units on the Stars loss. Let’s bounce back as the Panthers look to sweep the Canes tonight.
Game 4: Panthers vs. Hurricanes (8:00)
I expected this to be an excellent series for the Eastern Conference Finals but it’s been quite a dud instead, as the Florida Panthers have put the Carolina Hurricanes a game away from getting swept as the Panthers, the eighth seed in the East are a game away from the Stanley Cup Finals. We started the series with an excellent and competitive Game 1 on Thursday night with 3-2 Panthers win on the road in quadruple overtime. Matthew Tkachuk ended the sixth-longest game in NHL history 19:47 into the fourth overtime period to give Florida a 1-0 series lead, after a controversial no-goal call very early in the first overtime on goaltender interference. The Hurricanes outshot the Panthers 65-60 and outplayed Florida by an expected goal rate of 6.5-4.41 in the loss. The game was a defensive grind with 120 saves. Game 2 on Saturday night went to overtime in a low-scoring matchup as well, with the same result as none other than Matthew Tkachuk scored the game-winner once again, winning 2-1 just 1:51 into OT, once again on the power play from some picture perfect passing, but this time much quicker than the 4OTs it took in Game 1. If they win the cup, that Tkachuk trade might go down as one of the best trades in NHL history. The Hurricanes outshot Florida 38-26 in Game 2 and dominated play, especially early, outplaying the Panthers by an expected goal rate of 4.49-2.85, but just couldn’t figure out Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky was incredible once again in Game 3 as the series shifted to Lauderdale, shutting out the Canes to give his Panthers a commanding 3-0 series lead with Sam Reinhart’s power play goal in the second period being the only goal scored all game. Carolina outshot the Panthers 32-17 and outplayed Florida by an expected goal rate of 2.14-1.91, but the Canes couldn’t solve Bobrovsky again. Going into this series (just as I did going into the first round matchup for Florida against the Bruins, then again in the second round against the Leafs), I didn’t expect the Panthers to win it and took Hurricanes to win the series. Now though, I think Carolina’s completely done. They’ve been the better team through each of the first three games of this series and still have been unable to figure out a way to win. They haven’t been able to score on Sergei Bobrovsky all series and I don’t expect his Conn Smythe-level play to stop tonight. I’m expecting the Panthers to finish the sweep at home and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Hurricanes are just completely defeated and they’re not going to figure out a way to win. I have a future on the Canes to win the Cup and a series bet on them, both of which I expect to lose tonight. I do still have an incredible +4000 ticket though on Bobrovsky to win the Conn Smythe that looks awesome now that he’s the favorite at only +210. Partially as a hedge to mitigate the losses of my Hurricanes series bet and Cup future, I’ll take the Panthers for 3 units. The unders in this series have come very easy. Game 1 of this series was an incredible defensive battle, the sixth-longest game in NHL history, hitting the under easily as the game went to overtime tied 2-2. These teams played the length of over two games with no goals getting scored for almost four full overtime series with 120 total saves. Game 2 hit the under even easier with a 1-1 tie going into overtime and Game 3 somehow got even easier for the under to cash, with a 1-0 shutout on just one goal scored through 60 minutes of play. I expect the games in this series to continue trending under. With the fantastic goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky, every single game in the Panthers second-round series against the Maple Leafs stayed under. On the other side, the Hurricanes have been elite defensively in these playoffs and are the best team on the back end of the four remaining in the conference finals. They’ve allowed just an average of 2.55 goals per game, the second-fewest of any teams that made the playoffs, on an average of 27.8 shots allowed per game. Their penalty kill has been elite, killing off 90% of their penalties, the best of any of the 16 teams that made the playoffs. I expect these trends to continue as these teams compete in possibly the final game of the Eastern Conference Finals. Even though elimination games tend to trend over, I don’t see this one doing so. I’ll go right back to the under here, along with the first period under for 1.5 units, and Bobrovsky over 30.5 saves for 1.5 units each. Also, if the Canes win tonight to extend the series, I expect the under to hit, which is a nice hedge on the Panthers ML.
3u Panthers ML (-110)
1.5u Hurricanes/Panthers 1P under 1.5 (-130)
1.5u Hurricanes/Panthers under 5.5 (-120)
1.5u Sergei Bobrovsky over 30.5 saves (-125)
2u Carolina Hurricanes – Eastern Conference Champions (-130)
2u Golden Knights/Stars over 5.5 games (-186)
.5u Golden Knights/Stars over 6.5 games (+200)
2u Vegas Golden Knights – Stanley Cup Champions (+1200)
1.5u Carolina Hurricanes – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
2u Dallas Stars – Stanley Cup Champions (+815)
.5u Sergei Bobrovsky – Conn Smythe Trophy Winner (+4000)
Record: 804-668-35 (-72.32 units)
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