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Panthers vs. Rangers 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds & Game 1 Preview

By Hank Blaine

For the first time since 1997, the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers will face off in the postseason as they meet at Madison Square Garden in Game 1 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. We expect a seven-game series, with Florida a slight road favorite for the opener.

Either the Rangers (68 days) or Panthers (22 days) held first place in the Eastern Conference for 47% of the regular season (90 out of 192 days). Florida won the season series 2-1 but the Rangers won the last meeting 4-3 in a shootout at home on March 23 behind two regulation goals from Artemi Panarin and the shootout winner. The Panthers will face the Rangers in the playoffs the second time after falling to New York in the 1997 conference quarterfinals (4-1).

Both the Rangers (Metropolitan) and the Panthers (Atlantic) finished first in their divisions, marking the fifth time since 2005-06 and 14th time since 1979-80 that two division winners in the same conference met in the round before the Final.

Florida coach Paul Maurice (1,848) and New York’s Peter Laviolette (1,512) are two of nine head coaches in NHL history to coach in over 1,500 regular-season games. The only other series in NHL history to feature two bench bosses to each have as many contests behind the bench is the 2020 Stanley Cup quarters between Barry Trotz’s Islanders and Joel Quenneville’s Panthers.

Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 Information

  • When: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024, 8:00 PM ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: 560 Sports WQAM (Panthers) // ESPN New York 98.7 FM (Rangers)
  • Live Stream: NHL Network
  • NHL Betting Odds: Panthers (-1.5) // Rangers (+1.5)

Why Bet on the Florida Panthers?

Florida has been off since last Friday, when it eliminated Boston 2-1 in Game 6 of their East semifinals as defenseman Gustav Forsling scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:33 left in Beantown. Forsling became the second player in franchise history to score a go-ahead goal within the final two minutes of regulation in a playoff game. The other instance also happened to be a potential series-clinching game: Matthew Tkachuk (59:55 in Game 4 of 2023 CF).

Forsling became the first defenseman in Panthers history to score a series-clinching goal and joined Vancouver’s Pius Suter during Game 6 of the first round at Nashville and Chris Kreider during Game 6 of the second round at Carolina as the third player this postseason to score a series-clinching goal in the final five minutes of regulation. The only other playoff year with as many was 2009 with four.

Sergei Bobrovsky earned his seventh career series clinching win to pass Martin Jones for the fourth-most wins among active goalies. Only Marc-Andre Fleury (16), Andrei Vasilevskiy (13) and Jonathan Quick (10) have more victories. Bobrovsky is 8-3 with a 2.37 GAA and .902 save percentage in these playoffs.

Tkachuk leads the Panthers with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in the 2024 postseason. Aleksander Barkov has 13 (five goals, eight assists), Carter Verhaeghe has 11 (six goals, five assists) and Sam Reinhart has nine (five goals, four assists).

The Panthers have advanced to the round before the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year and third time in franchise history. Among expansion franchises that debuted in the 1990s or later, the only teams with more such appearances are the Lightning (8), Ducks (5), Sharks (5) and Golden Knights (4). Last year, the Panthers won the East, but then lost in the Stanley Cup Final to Vegas.

Why Bet on the New York Rangers?

New York is in the conference final for the second time in three seasons and fifth since 2012. It last reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. The Rangers finished off Carolina in Game 6 last Thursday, 5-3. Kreider became the sixth player in playoff history to record a natural hat trick, which included a series-clinching goal.

Mika Zibanejad (three goals, 11 assists) and Vincent Trocheck (six goals, eight assists) each lead the Rangers with 14 points in these playoffs. Kreider’s seven goals are first. Artemi Panarin has 11 points (four goals, seven assists), and Alexis Lafrenière (four goals, six assists) and Kreider (three assists) each have 10.

Igor Shesterkin has been arguably the best goalie in the playoffs, going 8-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He also is only the third goaltender in Rangers history to post eight or more wins in multiple postseasons, joining Henrik Lundqvist and Mike Richter.

The Rangers became the sixth Presidents’ Trophy winner to advance to the Conference Finals in the past 20 years (since 2004). The others: 2014-15 Rangers, 2012-13 Blackhawks, 2010-11 Canucks, 2007-08 Red Wings and 2006-07 Sabres. Chicago and Detroit are the only clubs that went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Panthers vs. Rangers Betting Trends

  • Florida is 12-3 SU in their last 15 games.
  • The Panthers are 2-5 SU in their last 7 games against NY Rangers.
  • The total went over in 6 of Florida’s last 9 games.
  • New York is 10-2 SU in their last 12 games.
  • The Rangers are 6-1 SU in their last 7 games at home.
  • The total went over in 5 of NY Rangers’ last 7 games.

Panthers vs. Rangers 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 1 Expert Betting Predictions

The Rangers should get the win at home on Wednesday night to take the series lead.

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Check out our latest sports betting guides for the 2023-24 NHL season. Stay tuned for more hockey previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest NHL betting odds at our online crypto sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Rangers vs. Panthers 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds & Game 4 Preview