The Florida Panthers are the No. 3 seed in the Eastern
Conference but still nobody has faith in them. Even with home-ice advantage in
the first round, the Panthers are the longest shot (55-1) to win the Stanley
On Friday, they’ll try to start proving hockey bettors wrong
when they host the New Jersey Devils for Game 1 of their first-round series.
One of the reasons nobody has faith in Florida is because they lost eight of
their final 10 games to end the season, have a goaltending controversy and are
facing a red hot Devils team.
Friday, April 13th
NHL Odds: Devils -115
The New Jersey Devils can win because…
They’re the better team. While the Panthers finished
third and he Devils finished sixth, the Devils totaled eight more points than
The Panthers are a one-trick pony with only one good line
of offense: Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann. Beyond those
three, the Panthers didn’t have a single forward with more than 32 points this
On the flip side, the Devils had four 30-goal scorers,
which is not typical for them, and they’ve got far more balance.
The Devils won their final six games of the regular
season but really, they’ve been playing great hockey since the start of
January. They finished the year on 27-12-4 and had they played like that the
entire season, they would have won the East.
The Panthers are short on experience as this is their
first playoff appearance in 12 years. The Devils are seasoned and they’ll be
ready to go for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs.
The Florida Panthers can win because…
They’re being completely underestimated.
The Panthers had an impressive season – by their
standards – and there’s a reason why they won the Southeast Division: they’re a
decent team. Not only do they have one main, dominant offensive line, they also
have an excellent corps on the blue line. Brian Campbell and Jason Garrison
contribute quite a bit offensively and that’s a main reason why the Panthers
are where they are.
There’s a good chance the Panthers opt for Scott
Clemmensen in net in Game 1 and while most people mock that decision, it might
not be a bad one. Clemmensen finished the season 3-0-1 in his final four starts
with a .962 save percentage. He’s a perfect 4-0-0 against his former team with
a 2.05 GAA.
There’s no pressure on this Panthers team to perform
since the expectations are so low. They’re playing with the house’s money and
that might give them an edge on Friday.
Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:
Stranger things have happened on Friday the 13th
but who’s really interested in trusting the Panthers in this spot? They’re a
“happy to be here” type of playoff team while the Devils mean business. On top
of that, the Panthers are cold, the Devils are hot, and New Jersey has the edge
in almost every realm. Florida doesn’t even know who their starting goaltender
will be as Jose Theodore slumped down the stretch while Scott Clemmensen played
Since it’s such a small price to pay on the road, take
NHL Picks: Devils