The Florida Panthers had beaten the mighty Boston Bruins and cruised through a series against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. Still, they have found that running into the Vegas Golden Knights has been a different story. And so have BetOnline customers who have put some money behind their magical run through the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It has been nothing but misery for the Panthers, who have lost by scores of 5-2 and 7-2 and really have their backs to the wall as they enter Game 3, which will begin at 8 PM ET Thursday at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL.
It’s been something of a horror show for Sergei Bobrovsky, who has two Vezina Trophy awards to his credit and was so brilliant in the Panthers’ drive to the finals but has been scored upon eight times in two games, impressing not only hockey fans but also those who wagered on NHL betting sites.
His save percentage coming into the finals was .935. But it’s been .826 thus far. And he was pulled from the game by coach Paul Maurice, which is the ultimate indignity.
Alex Lyon, the goalie who replaced him, had been the guy who helped Florida secure their #8 seed in the East and began the playoffs as the starter. He yielded three goals in 33 minutes in Game 2.
So it’s been a rough time all around.
Jonathan Marchessault made things particularly miserable for Florida with two goals in Monday’s game. He is one of several great centers for Vegas, making it difficult for the opposition to get a breather.
Maurice is not interested in giving Bobrovsky another breather. He expressed that he has all the faith in the world in his goalie and is all but committed to him for Game 3.
In the Stanley Cup betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetOnline, the Panthers are favored to come back and make this series a little more competitive:
Florida Panthers -119
Vegas Golden Knights +108
Over 6 Goals -105
Under 6 Goals -105
Here is the puck line…
Golden Knights +1.5 Goals -250
Panthers -1.5 Goals +210
In the latest series odds, Vegas is -550, with Florida at +430.
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Adin Hill, who had to be considered a journeyman before these playoffs began, has been outstanding in net, stopping 62 of 66 shots. That’s a .939 save percentage. So naturally, there are no concerns whatsoever on the part of Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy about continuing to use him.
Bobrovsky was the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy at +300. His counterpart, Adin Hill, was +800. And Marchessault was +450. So by now, let’s conclude that Hill and Marchessault are “up” while Bobrovsky is “down.”
And the same can be said for Matthew Tkachuk, who has been issued three misconduct penalties in the first two games. Has he been productive? Well, he scored a goal in Game 2, but there was a five-goal margin at the time.
This would be the time for Maurice to get a monster effort out of Bobrovsky, Tkachuk, and the rest, but the Panthers have to stop committing silly penalties and slow down the Vegas power play, which has scored four times in eight tries.
We’re not s challenge they can meet. But if Bobrovsky regains some form, the “under” may be a viable play.
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