Skip to main content
Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers scores a first period goal against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. We're backing Tkachuk in our Panthers vs. Rangers Predictions.
Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers scores a first period goal against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images via AFP.

The New York Rangers, after a comparatively vile Game 1 performance, welcome the Florida Panthers to Madison Square Garden for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final, and we have you covered with our expert Panthers vs. Rangers predictions based on the best NHL odds

The Florida Panthers put the clamps on the New York Rangers in Game 1, shutting them out with the finesse of a determined clingy partner, claiming a decisive 3-0 victory to snatch home-ice advantage. Peter Laviolette likely found himself pulling at his hair in frustration over the Rangers' disjointed performance.

However, Laviolette and his squad are surely gearing up with adjustments for Game 2, set to take place on Friday at Madison Square Garden in New York, with the action kicking off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Despite being on enemy ice, the Panthers, leading the pack in Stanley Cup odds, are slight favorites for Game 2. With a stellar 5-1 record in playoff road games, they exude confidence. Meanwhile, the Rangers, who dropped their last two home games but clinched victory in the previous four, view Game 2 as a pivotal must-win encounter.

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

Panthers vs. Rangers Game 2 expert picks

Not intended for use in MA
Affiliate Disclosure: Sportsbook Review may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook

Panthers vs. Rangers predictions for Friday

Rangers ML ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Rangers were unsettled throughout Game 1, seemingly unprepared for the Panthers' relentless defensive pressure. Florida bottles up the neutral zone better than any team, pressing aggressively at the blue line and forcing the opposition to dump it in and establish a forecheck, which was non-existent for Peter Laviolette's team.

The Blueshirts' performance in Game 1 shouldn't rear its gruesome face again in Game 2. The Rangers should acquit themselves with the desperation required to avoid going down two games heading back to Florida. 

Despite playing their worst game of the playoffs, the Blueshirts had every chance to tie Game 1 in the third period. Each attempt was thwarted by Sergei Bobrovsky, who enjoyed a stellar outing despite the comparatively light workload.

Expect a more ruthless Rangers team on Friday. The Rangers are home underdogs for the first time, offering solid value.

At -104, FanDuel has the best value of our best sports betting apps. A $10 wager pays a profit of $9.62 if it hits and has an implied probability of 50.98%. 

Best odds: -104 via FanDuel

Bet $5, Win $200 in Bonus Bets

New customers only. Deposit min. $5. Place first bet of $5+ and get $200 in Bonus Bets if the bet wins (within 72 hours).

Sportsbook Review may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook or casino betting site. 21+. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly

Matthew Tkachuk anytime goal ⭐⭐⭐

On Wednesday, Matthew Tkachuk scored the opener and game-winner. It was his first goal since Game 1 at home against the Boston Bruins, ending a five-game drought.

Tkachuk's goal at Madison Square Garden in Game 1 made it five in as many conference final contests. He scored four goals in the sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in last season's Eastern Conference Final and consistently raises his level in the most meaningful games. 

Not only is he scoring a goal-per-game clip in conference finals (albeit in an admittedly small sample size), but Tkachuk loves the idea of playing in New York as much as a teenage partygoer enjoys spring break in Mexico. 

Best odds: +200 via FanDuel

Mika Zibanejad Over 2.5 shots ⭐⭐⭐

Usually, when you dominate one area, another takes a back seat. The Rangers' playoff assist king has prioritized setting up his colleagues throughout the playoffs, especially in the last five games.

Mika Zibanejad hasn't hit the Over on this prop since Game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes when he peppered Frederik Andersen with six shots. I think he's overdue for an outing of at least three shots, especially at Madison Square Garden. 

He's averaging 3.5 shots per game on home ice and had two against the Panthers in Game 1. It's essential for the Rangers' success that Zibanejad shoots the puck more often. His five-game streak of two or fewer shots is the longest of his playoff career.

I expect the 31-year-old Swede and the rest of his teammates to fire more often in Game 2.

FanDuel again has the best value, offering +104 odds. Those odds imply a 49.02% probability and pay a profit of $10.40 on a winning $10 wager. 

Best odds: +104 via FanDuel

Panthers vs. Rangers Game 2 info & odds

  • When: Friday, May 24
  • Puck drop: 8 p.m. ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • How to watch: ESPN, Sportsnet
  • Favorite: Panthers (-115 via DraftKings)

Panthers-Rangers predictions made Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.

Here are our best NHL betting sites:

(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)
* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

Related pages