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Matthew Tkachuk looks on during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first round as we offer our best Game 1 predictions for the second-round series between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
Matthew Tkachuk looks on during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP via AFP

The Florida Panthers get back to business after a week's rest when they welcome the Boston Bruins to Amerant Bank Arena Monday for the opening game of their second-round series, as we offer our expert Bruins-Panthers predictions based on the best NHL odds

Entering Monday's Game 1 in Sunrise, Fla., the Florida Panthers (52-24-6) are as fresh as a seafood feast from a seaside restaurant. On the flip side, the Boston Bruins (47-20-15) endured a grueling first round, culminating in an overtime victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 on Saturday. The puck is set to drop at 8 p.m. ET.

While extended rest before a series doesn't always guarantee success in Game 1, the Panthers find themselves as clear favorites for the opener. However, they must quickly find their rhythm against a Bruins team riding a wave of momentum and accustomed to playing at a relentless intensity level for the past two weeks. Currently, the Panthers are battling it out with the Edmonton Oilers for the top spot in the Stanley Cup odds.

Here are our best Bruins vs. Panthers predictions and NHL picks (odds via our best NHL betting sites; Pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Bruins vs. Panthers Game 1 expert picks

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Bruins vs. Panthers predictions for Monday

Under 5.5 goals ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Anything can happen in the opening game of a series, as Game 1 in New York on Sunday proved with four first-period goals.

However, the Bruins and Panthers are two of the league's best defensive teams. Add in Boston's offensive struggles recently, and there's a game tailor-fit for the Under. Five of Boston's seven games against the Maple Leafs went Under, including the last four, while Jeremy Swayman hasn't allowed more than two goals in seven straight starts. 

Only two of the five Panthers' first-round games went Under. However, those contests occurred in Games 1 and 2 at home. Had it not been for the Panthers pouring a garbage truck's worth of salt on Tampa's wounds late in the clincher, in which they scored four goals in the final 11 minutes (two of which were empty-netters), the Under would have also hit in Game 6. The Bruins were one of the best defensive road teams, and the Panthers produced the 20th-ranked regular-season home offense.

Betway's -125 odds represent an implied probability of 55.56%. A winning $10 bet will pay a profit of $8. 

Best odds: -125 via Betway

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Under 59.5 total shots ⭐⭐⭐

The Bruins aren't a shoot-first team under ordinary circumstances. And they struggled mightily in the first round, averaging just 26.3 shots per game. While the squad must be riding a tsunami of gleeful emotions, traveling to Florida on Sunday morning after prevailing in a seven-game dogfight can't be easy. I don't expect Boston to enjoy a ton of time in the offensive zone against a fresh Panthers team, which should lead to a lower shot total. 

Meanwhile, the Panthers fired a lot of pucks on goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy in the first round, averaging 32 per game. While they should hit the 30-mark in Game 1, the Bruins' lower total combined with a bit of first-period rust from the Panthers sets the Under up to cash.

Betway offers odds of -118, which pays a profit of $8.47 on a winning $10 wager. The implied probability is 54.13%. 

Best odds: -118 via Betway

Matthew Tkachuk Over 0.5 assists ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Matthew Tkachuk was born to excel in playoff hockey. The Panthers' antagonist is as smug as they come, and for good reason. He produced six assists in the opening round, failing to notch at least one apple just once. Tkachuk has logged 19 assists in his last 25 playoff games, and he's registered 43 points across 37 contests during the past three postseasons, including the first five games in the 2024 playoffs.

Tkachuk struggled against the Bruins during the regular season, notching only one assist in four games. But this is the playoffs, when Tkachuk's smugness and offensive ruthlessness reach unparalleled heights.

Betway offers -118 odds for Tkachuk to get at least one apple. A $10 would pay a profit of $8.47 if it hits, and the wager comes with an implied probability of 54.13%.

Best odds: -118 via Betway

Bruins vs. Panthers Game 1 info & odds

  • When: Monday, May 6
  • Puck drop: 8 p.m. ET
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise, Fla.
  • How to watch: ESPN, Sportsnet
  • Favorite: Panthers (-160 via Betway)

Bruins-Panthers predictions made Monday at 11 a.m. ET.

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